The negative impact of the pandemic on the world of showbiz has been massive and much discussed – filming stalled, cinemas closed and livelihoods affected. Now, as the industry gradually returns to some semblance of normality, it’s safe to assume that actors will be asked to take a pay cut to cover the losses. However, it is quite the opposite. As the OTT medium witnesses a growing demand for content consumption, players are demanding a pay rise.
Our source reveals specific examples of actors who increased their ball park fees by ₹50 lakhs to 2 crores now. About a year and a half ago, actor Gulshan Devaiah charing ₹40-50 lakhs. But now he asks ₹2 crore. The same goes for actors Harshvardhan Rane and Vikrant Massey. They received ₹75,000,000 ₹1 crore, and they have now started asking ₹1.5 crore. hThis, too, comes with a clause in the contract: if their film is released directly on digital, they will get ₹1.5 crores extra.
Massey’s co-star in his upcoming film, Legal, Radhika Apte, too, is another example. “The fees she is asking for are ₹2.5 crores, and included the same clause (regarding OTT release) was included in his contract,” adds our source.
We are told actor Kartik Aaryan was also paid an extra amount when from Dhamaka the directors decided to release the film directly on a web platform.
Business expert Atul Mohan says, “As there is a lot of demand from OTT, players are so busy that they don’t have time. Virtually all of the cast are busy for the next two years. If you approach them, they don’t have dates. So this means that when you are in demand, you will obviously ask for more money.
There’s nothing wrong with actors asking for a pay raise, says producer Anand Pandit, who has financed films such as The big bull and Chehre.
He opines, “It’s about demand and supply. If I am an actor and my producer gives me ₹10 because of any equation…suddenly if an OTT platform gives me ₹50, my demand increases. I will ask for more money, simple as that. I haven’t met anyone suddenly asking for more money. I don’t see anything wrong with that.
A player’s trade performance is what determines their market value, but producer trade analyst Girish Johar says it also depends on player to player.
“If there is viability, the producer will pay. We all know how badly income streams have been affected, especially those from cinema. Most critical is digital revenue, which has temporarily become the backbone. By the time the theatrical business opens and everything is normal, I think it makes no sense,” he reasons.