Published By: Dishya Sharma
Last Updated: June 07, 2023, 09:19 IST
Can you guess who became the first Indian actor to charge a staggering remuneration of Rs 1 crore in the film fraternity? If you think it was Bollywood biggies like Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, and Salman Khan, let us tell you the truth. Everything changed in the early 1990s when the popularity of a prominent Telugu actor skyrocketed. Yes, it was a regional actor who bagged the milestone, paving the way for his contemporaries all across Bollywood and South industry to follow suit.
Wondering who was the actor?
The September 1992 edition of Stardust magazine claimed megastar Chiranjeevi to be the highest-paid actor in India, as per DNA. It was reported the Telugu star received a pay cheque of Rs 1.25 crore for the film Aapadbandhavudu. Directed by K Vishwanath, the drama flick also featured Meenakshi Seshadri, Jandhyala, Sarath Babu, and Geetha in pivotal roles. Such was the success of the film that it earned five state Nandi Awards, leaving Chiranjeevi with a Nandi Best Actor and Filmfare Best Actor accolades.
Aapadbandhavudu was the third collaboration of Chiranjeevi and Vishwanath after the hit movies Subhalekha and Swayam Krushi. On a global level, the movie was screened during the prestigious AISFM, Asia Pacific, and International Film Festivals. Moreover, it was also dubbed in Tamil with the title Veera Marudha. The plot chronicles the life of servant Marutha, who falls in love with his employer’s daughter but decides to hold back owing to societal and class barriers. However, when his ladylove undergoes a major medical tragedy, the servant comes to her rescue.
It is suggested when Chiranjeevi emerged as the highest-paid actor in India, megastar Amitabh Bachchan was charging Rs 85-90 crore per film. Following Chiranjeevi, it was actors Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth who entered the 1-crore club in 1994 and a year later Amitabh Bachchan joined the bandwagon. It wasn’t until the late 1990s that Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Nagarjuna, Venkatesh, and other prominent personalities began charging this staggering amount.
Years have passed but the craze and dominance of Chiranjeevi in the acting world remain unwavering. He will next share the screen space with Keerthy Suresh and Tamannaah Bhatia in Meher Ramesh’s actioner Bhola Shankar.