Actor Taapsee Pannu has said that sometimes, a male actor’s salary can be equal to the entire budget of a female-driven film. Taapsee is gearing up for the release of her upcoming film, Mission Mangal, which stars five female actors in lead roles, in addition to Akshay Kumar.
“A hero’s salary is equal to an entire budget of a female-driven film,” she said, according to The Times of India. “Usme bhi mujhe bola jata hai, aap thoda kam charge kar lona (Even then I am told to take a pay cut). Cost-cutting karenge kyunki yeh female-centric film hai, mainstream nahin (This happens because female actors aren’t bankable). These things hurt a bit. If you are cast in a film where a woman has an equal part as the man, if not more, you don’t get a male A-lister who will be okay to share screen space with you. If women are cast as the protagonists in a film, the male actors who play their partners are never A-listers. On the contrary, girls are ready to play smaller parts opposite top male actors. These things bother me.”
Mission Mangal tells the story of five women, played by Taapsee, Vidya Balan, Nithya Menen, Kirti Kulhari and Sonakshi Sinha, who spearhead India’s first Mars mission, with the help of a scientist played by Akshay Kumar.
Taapsee has spoken about pay parity in the past. She’d said in a recent interview, “Maintaining pay parity is very important and I am in total favour of it. But right now, where I stand, I probably can’t say that I can command the same salary as my male counterpart in this or that film.”
Recently, actor Parineeti Chopra had said that she’s okay with making less than her male counterparts because she thinks she makes up the difference by doing more endorsements.