Actor Karthi Sivakumar is of the opinion that the salary of lead actresses are determined by market forces. The significant difference between the salary of the actresses and the actors is not a gender issue, according to the actor. “Like stock market, your value goes up, down. So, a heroine who is doing very well demands whatever market share she pulls, and producers do pay for it. So, we can’t say anybody is underpaid or anything because they are paid as per their market value. That’s how films work,” he said.
He also feels that the gender pay gap is a common phenomenon all around, except in fields such as Information Technology (IT). “I think it’s not just in films, it’s everywhere, every part of the society. I think, IT they have matched it up. As far as the film industry goes, you are paid as per your market demand,” Karthi told PTI.
Pay equality has always been an issue of contention in all fields of work and cinema is no exception. While actresses from South Indian cinema have not made any statements about the issue, actresses like Kangana Ranaut have said that their paychecks are a step towards pay equality.
When reports surfaced that she was paid Rs. 11 crores for a film (Still light years away from Salman Khan’s 60 crores), she said “I am complaining too. There was a point when my complaint wasn’t rational and yet, I felt that way even earlier. But the data wasn’t supporting me. ‘Queen’ did make money, about Rs 100 cr, but still I wasn’t sure how much money could I ask for after that. Also, giving a 250 cr money is a different thing altogether. My getting Rs 11 cr is a small step towards that equality you are talking about, and as a woman I would also want to see…to be treated as an equal.”
Recently, Amitabh Bachchan revealed that Deepika Padukone was paid a higher salary for Shoojit Sircar’s Piku (2015). Bachchan made waves with the comment, and stated that it was a sign that Padukone’s role in the movie was ‘more important’ than his.