Last year, while I was brutally murdering three hours of my short little stay on planet earth watching a silly Hindi movie (ok…this is embarrassing but it was Ready… err no TeesMaarKhan… no I’m dead sure it was Toonpur ka Superhero!!), I texted this to a friend – “You know,sometimes I feel stupid that I have to study subjects like Machines,Analog and what not to make sure I get a decent job and make a respectable living and these idiots(there,I said it) dance on cheap songs and earn crores and crores.” Ok,I might have hurt a few fanatical sentiments by calling our Bollywood ‘stars’, idiots, but I really had no option. I was victim of what I call little-sibling-decides-movie syndrome. So keep calm and read on.
Unlike most of my angrezi movie watching friends, I am a Hindi movie-goer. And no, not just the dumb ones (some of which sadly become a major hit) but the regular ones too. Zindagi Na MIlegi Dobara, 3Idiots, Rang De Basanti, My Name Is Khan, Wake Up Sid and so on are movies even hard-core Bollywood haters end up watching and enjoying. And there is no dearth of talent when we have so many amazing artists eager to entertain us.
However,the problem is-why are these people paid crores and crores for no obvious reason? Akshay Kumar averages at 15-20 crore per movie as the highest paid actor and Kareena Kapoor at 8 crore per movie is the highest paid actress. While the male/female income disparities itself are debatable, they are not of prime importance here. And also, people close to me might feel that I’m ‘targeting’ Akshay/Kareena as I have publicly declared my dislike for them time and again. No,I’m speaking in general. Even though I love Aamir Khan’s works and all his responsible ventures, I find it weird that he gets 12-13 crores for each of his movies (I didn’t have the energy to research about Satyameva Jayate,Titan,TataSky,Innova and other endorsements).
‘Hard work’ is often cited as a major reason for charging such exuberant sums of money. Well,I know they work hard. Success, in any field, is not possible without hard work. But if you look around, you’ll find many people working equally hard, sometimes more. Most of our parents work 10-12 hours a day on an average. And no, it’s not just the hours, even the content of work is what comes under the category of being quite demanding. Agreed, delivering dialogues till you get the right emotion out, dancing till every move is perfect, waking up at crazy hours or staying up till late at night with obnoxious make up on, is not easy. But when I compare it to the kind of gruelling work that my doctor relatives, friend at naval academy, friend’s dad owning his business and many such similar people do, I find the excuse of hard work given by actors a rather sorry one.
Also,talking about ‘talent’. Well, Of course delivering dialogues, performing risky stunts, dancing with amazing moves and looking heavenly gorgeous always, is talent. But so are creating innovative products, designing highly complicated circuits or writing lines and lines of codes that work. Saving a life by performing a 6 hour-long surgery, joining the armed forces to save your country, setting up successful businesses all come under the definition of talent, in my opinion. Of course many businessmen/doctors/teachers earn more than these ‘stars’. But,I’m talking about the masses who have humbler earnings.
What is the solution of this problem then? Boycott movies of actors that charge crazy amounts? Hell no! All of us need mindless as well as meaningful movies once in a while. As a hardcore angrezi movie-goer friend of mine said, when asked why is it that the only Hindi movies he happens to watch are the really stupid ones with idiotic dialogues and sleazy songs – “Sometimes I just wanna leave my brain at my home and laugh”. Point taken, sir! It is indeed why,such movies become a hit. But then sometimes I also want to leave my brain in my room and play fetch-the-ball with my dog in the garden. Should I pay him a crore too? Think about it the next time you pay 200 bucks (which eventually makes up the 15-20 crores) at a multiplex. And let me know if you find an answer as I’m still wondering!