Well, that was depressing. Following all the hubbub over whether Gal Gadot was paid 46 times less for Wonder Woman than what Henry Cavill made for Man of Steel, The News Minute just published a report on wage gaps in the South Indian film industry, and it’s full of some pretty sorry findings.
It details how stars are paid differently in different industries, with Telugu and Tamil film industries having a much wider market and higher pay scales than Malayalam and Kannada film industries. Gendered pay gap, however, seems to be some kind of commonality between the four industries, because all of them pay female actors significantly less than male actors.
Top stars in the Tamil film industry make around Rs 30 crore per film, while top female stars make about 1.5 crore to 2 crore. Top male actors in the Telugu industry make 17 to 22 crore per film, while top female actors make make between 1 crore to 1.5 crore. Top Kannada actors make around seven to eight crores, while women make around 36 lakhs. Top Malayalam actors get paid above a crore, while women make around 20 lakhs per film. The report names some exceptions, like Manju Warrier and Nayanthara, who are paid slightly higher wages than others, but none of the female actors named make even close to as much money as their male counterparts.
Isn’t it crazy? Women are literally getting paid twenty times less than their male counterparts. The News Minute‘s report also makes some more depressing observations: that women make more films in a year because the time committed to each film is less, as they play roles that demand less screen time than men in most movies, and that male actors bring in crowds to theatres although it’s always a nice sort of bonus if a movie has a popular female actor.
They also postulate that another reason for the situation could be that these film industries are largely populated by male directors, producers, script-writers and technicians, which leads to most of the stories being about men, and touch upon the idea of male actors, by virtue of their connections and rapport with other men in the industry, make lucrative deals off of the movie’s distribution, which female actors can’t do because they don’t have the same connections and soft power.
Check out The News Minute‘s full report that names actors and how much they’re paid in comparison to other stars, here.