India's Top 100 Digital Stars 2023

2015 Forbes India Celebrity 100: The wheel of fame and fortune

A ready reckoner of India's top celebrities

Deepak Ajwani
Published: Dec 12, 2015 06:47:09 AM IST
Updated: Apr 20, 2023 10:56:27 AM IST

The Baadshah is back. At 50, Shah Rukh Khan continues to rule India’s celebrity index. After slipping to No 3 last year, he has wrested back the No 1 position on the 2015 Forbes India Celebrity 100 list from Salman Khan. Shah Rukh made the most amount of money this year—a whopping Rs 257.5 crore. This is the highest any celebrity has ever made in the four years since the Forbes India Celebrity 100 list was instituted; in fact, his earnings are 9 percent of the total wealth of the top 100 celebrities this year—Rs 2,819 crore.

The other aspect of celebrity—fame—is where Shah Rukh still lags behind at No 4. Here, the big man of Bollywood, Amitabh Bachchan, still reigns at No 1. With about 17.5 million followers on Twitter, the highest-ever for any celebrity on our list, the 73-year-old icon can teach a thing or two about social media to the digital generation. (Interestingly, on Facebook, singer Yo Yo Honey Singh is on top with over 28 million followers waiting eagerly to ‘like’ his every post.)

Aamir Khan has made it to the top five on the list this year for the first time. His runaway hit PK (December 2014) and revenues from endorsements have brought him Rs 104.25 crore, his highest in the last four years. That’s 145 percent more than what he earned in 2012.

On the other hand, Alia Bhatt and Madhuri Dixit have moved up the list despite the lack of any movie revenue this year. Their rise is entirely due to brand endorsement revenue and their fame quotient.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni maintains his rank at No 4 this year.

Among the top 3 rank gainers this year are Dhanush (who moved up 41 ranks), Rohit Sharma and Allu Arjun (both up 38 ranks).

While most celebrities have gained higher ranks due to an increase in their revenue, others, like Rohit Sharma, have moved up the list largely due to a spurt in their fame quotient. Sharma’s fame rank went up to 8 from 32, ensuring him a slot in the top 20. His 264, the highest score in one-day international history (against Sri Lanka in November 2014), and news about his engagement helped bump up his popularity.

Seven celebrities (Yo Yo Honey Singh, Sunny Leone, Virender Sehwag, Jacqueline Fernandez, Ishant Sharma, Harbhajan Singh and Gautam Gambhir) are in the top 50 largely due to their fame quotient. Their revenues are in the range of Rs 1.5-7 crore but their popularity has ensured a higher ranking on the 2015 Forbes India Celebrity 100 list.

This year, the list witnessed 14 debutants; among them, cricketer Ravichandran Aswhin comes in straight at No 31. Meanwhile, filmmaker SS Rajamouli and actor Prabhas make it to the list this year primarily because of the superhit Baahubali.

There were casualties too, with 19 people, including notable names like Sanjay Leela Bhansali, AR Murugadoss and Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, not making the cut this year.

But that is the nature of celebritydom: Sometimes fickle, sometimes fair, often bewildering; however, never dull.

The Top Ten on 2015 Forbes India Celebrity 100 List and their earnings

Click here to see full 2015 Forbes India Celebrity 100 list

Celeb 100 List compiled by Angad Singh Thakur, Anshul Dhamija, Aveek Datta, Debojyoti Ghosh, Deepak Ajwani, Deepti Chaudhary, Kathakali Chanda, Kunal Purandare, N. Madhavan, Peter Griffin, Pravin Palande, Salil Panchal, Samar Srivastava, Shruti Venkatesh, Shutapa Paul

Principal Data Partners: LexisNexis® , Exceed Entertainment, IOS Sports & Entertainment, ,  Galatta, TAM Media Research , Nielsen BookScan and GroupM ESP.
Supported by:, and

(This story appears in the 25 December, 2015 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)

Post Your Comment
Required, will not be published
All comments are moderated
  • Keth

    If you consider revenue and fame Tamil actors Vijay and Ajith kumar should have been included in the list. They are famous in south India and abroad. Polls should have conducted in rural areas too. Check the Google search of South Indian actors.

    on Mar 30, 2016
    • Adi

      Dear keth many south indian actors are also ranked in this list please do check the full list

      on Aug 19, 2016
  • Aditya

    As per Forbes worlds highest earning celebrities 2015 Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar & Mahendra Singh Dhoni were inside top 100 while Shah Rukh khan did not even made it to the list. As per Forbes highest paid actors list 2015 the 3 aforementioned actors were at 8th and 9th position while SRK was somewhere around 16. Mahendra Singh Dhoni as per Forbes worlds highest paid sportstar's and worlds highest paid celebrities 2015 is approx at $ 26 million but as per your estimates is roughly @ $ 18-19 million. The same can be said for Amitabh Bachchan. Same magazine (although i understand teams are different), same year, 4 different polls, but Celebrity 100 India starkly contradict from others, why?

    on Feb 18, 2016
    • Neeraj Gangal

      Dear Aditya, Thanks for your comment. The Forbes India Celebrity 100 list is not just an earnings based list. We tabulate both earnings as well as fame, and a composite of both Earnings and Fame quotient put together determines the final rank of Celebrities on the Celeb 100 list. Do read the detailed methodology for this list explained here to help you understand more:

      on Feb 22, 2016
  • Dr. Subbanarasu Divakaran

    We are all happy that these people have made immense fortunes this year. Will it not be appropriate to also declare the amount they have spent on philanthrophy? We the dumb and deaf Indians will even build temples for these big money bags even after they know very well that some of these big bags just blow out like balloons in no time.

    on Jan 4, 2016
  • Abhinandan Kumar

    Rank is decide on what base

    on Dec 30, 2015
  • Basanth

    Jr.ntr is more popular than raviteja and prabhas

    on Dec 23, 2015
  • Zuber

    Hpy to see Srk nd Sallu bhai (position 1,2) :)

    on Dec 13, 2015
  • Cm

    Big surprising my idol/God/favourite star Powerstar Pawankalyan is missing in this list. If you are now aware then check his popularity/fame on google and social networking sites. He is current biggest superstar of south indian film industry. I will bet his upcoming film Sardar Gabbar Singh which releasing in April/May 2016 will break all Overseas box office records then you can think about my statement.

    on Dec 12, 2015
  • Kriti Reddy

    I can\'t understand why you people always gives less earnings of shahid Kapoor! This year he got good profits from his Haider film! Got good remuneration for Shaandaar film! And got 1.75cr per episode of Jhalak(reality show) which he judged. It is of 30 episodes! He should have got 50cr from that show only! And he did numerous dance performances too!

    on Dec 12, 2015
  • Chandrashekhar

    The Top 10 list posted above has Akshay Kumar making 127cr at #6 while Amitabh Bachhan 112cr), MS Dhoni (119cr) & Aamir Khan (104cr), with lower incomes are number #3, #4 & #5. Similarl case with Virat Kohli & Hrithik Roshan. Explain this logic?? 1. Shah Rukh Khan Rs.257.50 2. Salman Khan Rs.202.75 3. Amitabh Bachchan Rs.112.00 4. Mahendra Singh Dhoni Rs.119.33 5. Aamir Khan Rs.104.25 6. Akshay Kumar Rs.127.83 7. Virat Kohli Rs.104.78 8. Sachin Tendulkar Rs.40.00 9. Deepika Padukone Rs.59.00 10. Hrithik Roshan Rs.74.50

    on Dec 11, 2015
    • Deepak Ajwani

      Dear Chandrashekhar, Thanks for your comment. The reason why Akshay Kumar is still lower in rank compared to Amitabh Bachchan, regardless of his earnings being higher, is because the Forbes India Celebrity 100 list is not just an earnings based list. We tabulate both earnings as well as fame, and a composite of both Earnings and Fame quotient put together determines the final rank of Celebrities on the Celeb 100 list. Do read the detailed methodology for this list explained here to help you understand more:

      on Dec 15, 2015
      • Chandrashekhar

        Hello Deepak, Thank you for explaining the reason and removing the numbers from the list :) I think I missed a footnote about the methodology or composite score. Cheers!

        on Dec 15, 2015
  • Rajesh Deepak

    Both the actor is very much popular in the south. Vijay and Ajith Kumar. but we did not see the name of this actor on the list, but tank god Amitabh Bachchan\'s name is mentioned there. He is still a superstar of Hindi cinema. I have also written some good posts on my blog related to Amitabh Bachchan. My blog URL is

    on Nov 30, 2020