Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Akshay Kumar is the new box office king

The year 2007 seems to have belonged to Akshay Kumar as he has been reported to be the highest Bollywood tax payer of the year. The actor has paid Rs 26 crores as tax. In 2006, Hrithik Roshan was the highest tax payer with Rs 15 crores followed by SRK at Rs 14 crores and Akshay was far behind with only Rs 6 crores payed as taxes. He is also on his way to stand amongst the highest individual tax payers of the nation.

Trade pundits acknowledge that he is a one-man industry. “Akshay is running his own parallel industry. His box office record is impeccable,” feels a trade expert. Trade pundits are comparing him with megastar Rajnikanth post the success of Bhool Bhulaiyaa. Rajnikanth made waves by being the highest paid actor in Asia. The South star charged Rs 16 crores per film, post the success of Sivaji. The news in the trade circle is that Akshay will now be charging Rs 22 crores a film. In fact, for his latest film with Venus, his fee is supposedly a staggering Rs 41 crores.

In 2007, Akshay delivered four back-to-back hits (Namastey London, Heyy Babyy, Bhool Bhulaiyaa and Welcome). Throughout the year, he had been offered three-film contracts with dream sums but he had declined them all and preferred to dictate his own terms when it came to his acting fees per film.
Recently, it was learnt that when he had quoted Rs 20 crores as his acting fee, a top production house offering him that project did not think twice before agreeing to it and immediately went ahead with the deal.

An industry trade analyst states, “The Khiladi Kumar is being touted to earn at least Rs 100-120 crores in this year from his acting assignments. Plus, there are stage shows abroad scheduled and many top brand endorsement deals are on his way apart from the existing ones. The total figure might end up to be really big. The King Khan surely has competition from him even if might deny that.”

Akshay’s 2008 releases are Yashraj’s Tashan, Warner Brothers’ biggest action film Made In China, Sajid Nadiadwala’s Kambhaqt Ishq, Vipul Shah’s Singh Is Kinng and Nagesh Kukunoor’s Eight By Ten. Producers are keen on Akshay as there is a guaranteed return on investment and his new price of Rs 22 crores is justified as he has got huge releases in the future.

Akshay’s Bhool Bhulaiyaa was bigger than Yashraj’s Laaga Chunari Mein Daag. Within five days of its release, the film was number seven on the UK charts. Bhool Bhulaiyaa made a collection of over £ 2,00,000 in the first three days and reached to the number seven mark. Akki’s Heyy Babyy has grossed approximately Rs 5.58 crores in UK, as opposed to SRK’s Chak De! India which has grossed Rs 3.47 crores so far. Not only this, Heyy Babyy also had the biggest opening in the US in 2007 and the biggest screen average (£ 6,039) in the UK.

A film distributor reveals, “SRK has so far been the undisputed king in the overseas market. But Akki’s popularity abroad is soaring. His films are being lapped up by overseas distributors with ever-rising prices. Even his film like Dosti (No. 5 in UK charts), that have not done well here, has seen several houseful weeks abroad. So, that way he’s a superhit hero and has been consistent in giving hits.”