Every Indian, it seems, is a born entertainer,” remarked Satyajit Ray once, observing, during a break in shooting, a child mimicking one of the lead actors in the studio’s corridor
Shantanu Guha Ray
Every Indian, it seems, is a born entertainer,” remarked Satyajit Ray once, observing, during a break in shooting, a child mimicking one of the lead actors in the studio’s corridor. But that isn’t why listing the richest entertainers in India is such a complex and difficult task. The Indian income reporting system-unlike in the West-lacks transparency. Add to that the problem of unaccounted wealth. There are often no standard rates that an entertainer charges. A musician may charge $40,000 (Rs 17 lakh) for a performance abroad while his fees in India for the same could be Rs 25-30 lakh. A top cricketer’s appearance for a casual dinner with MNC executives may cost anything from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 15 lakh. A film star may rake in Rs 65 lakh to dance at a wedding yet do a film for a friend for free.
Also, for long, Bollywood stars have-besides films-thrived on tours in NRI-congested parts of the Gulf, Europe and the US. Tax officials admit they have reports that many stars accept payments through methods ranging from foreign bank accounts to benami flats abroad. And if filmi incomes are difficult to estimate, cricketers are no different. The only thing official: the fees paid by the cricket board.
To develop this authoritative list of 1999’s top-earning entertainers, Outlook journalists spent months speaking to dozens of sources, from tax officials to chiefs of Indian and multinational corporations, film industry insiders to event management companies across the world. In the end, we decided to give conservative estimates of the earnings this year of the men and women who wove the most popular dreams. And made their own come true. (more…)