How Akshay Kumar Became One Of The Highest Paid Actors In The World
Akshay Kumar may not be a household name in the United States, but the Indian actor made $ 32.5 million last year, more than Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Johnny Depp. At 48, he is one of Bollywood’s biggest stars and one of the highest paid actors in the world, ranking 9th on our annual list.
In the first truly global ranking to examine the paychecks of international players, Kumar was one of the top five Indian men to join the list. Big Bang Bollywood Friends Amitabh Bachchan and Salman khan ranked at No.7 with $ 33.5million, while Shah Rukh Khan carried $ 26million (No.18) ahead of Ranbir Kapoor’s $ 15million (No.30).
More than many others, Kumar has a busy filming schedule to thank for his millions as he works an average of four films a year. Bollywood’s demand for structured abs and beefy biceps in its action heroes – no Dad Bods is allowed – means Kumar’s exercise regimen remains strict.
“My day starts around 4:30 am, I train for an hour, then I swim for half an hour to 45 minutes,” says Kumar, speaking on the phone from Los Angeles, Calif., Where he was recently shooting a commercial. “I’m going to drop my son off at school and then I go to my shoot for 8 hours.”
“At 9:30 pm I go to bed, it’s a very simple life,” Kumar says. “A lot of times people say I have a boring life, but that’s okay.”
Boring may not be entirely accurate. Born in Amritsar, Punjab, India, Kumar studied martial arts in India and Thailand before achieving great success as a model in 1989. Well almost.
“I had to go to Bangalore on a modeling assignment and they told me to take a flight at 6 am,” Kumar recalls. “I was exercising and suddenly I got a call – it was a morning flight and I thought it was evening.”
After missing his plane, Kumar begged for another chance, but lost the gig anyway. On his way to a studio that evening, Kumar says he bumped into director and producer Pramod Chakravarthy. “He saw my photographs and wanted me to act in a movie,” Kumar recalls. “You won’t believe it but it was 6:00 p.m. when he saw my wallet.”
“That’s why I think it’s important to be lucky, if I hadn’t missed the flight I would still have a hard time entering this industry.”
Since his role in Chakravarthy’s 1992 Deedar, Kumar has appeared in some 150 films, the majority of which are action films. He recently loaded the screen in the Lionsgate Films co-production Brothers, playing a struggling street fighter.
“I started preparing for the shoot six months ago because mixed martial arts take time – it’s not just about kicking or karate, you have to learn other arts like grappling and jiu-jitsu, ”Kumar explained.
Brothers grossed $ 19 million on a budget of $ 17 million – a poor performance by US box office standards, although possibly still profitable in India. Bollywood movies typically make much less than Hollywood movies at the box office, but they recoup the costs by selling the satellite rights to TV channels. Although these satellite rights are becoming less lucrative with the rise of online streaming and mobile viewing, Kumar remains confident that these new technologies will allow other sources of revenue.
“Next year will be a golden time for my industry,” says Kumar.
Kumar, for his part, is guaranteed a nice compensation. Unlike the United States, where gross first dollar transactions are a pact of the past, Bollywood stars like Kumar continue to earn a share of each movie’s box office revenue in addition to a seven-figure initial fee.
“Earlier in my life, I wanted to do it for money,” Kumar says to act. “Now I’m doing it because I love it.”
Today, Kumar says her favorite roles are storylines based on historical events, such as the upcoming Air lift, a Gulf War drama. (This tough man says comedy remains a challenge.)
“My big break came from taking the short breaks slowly,” Kumar reflected. “How money attracts money, work attracts the biggest work – I just kept doing as much work as I could and suddenly I had a big break.”
The 34 highest paid actors, from seven countries, earned $ 941 million before taxes and fees between June 1, 2014 and June 1, 2015. Our list measures profits before subtracting management fees and taxes; the numbers are based on data from Nielsen, Box Office Mojo and IMDB, as well as interviews with agents, managers, lawyers and stars themselves. He only looked at men – a list of highest paid actresses has been published separately.