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Salman Khan tops Forbes India Celebrity 100 list for third time in a row

The 2018 list has a few surprises, but mostly the usual suspects

Published: Dec 5, 2018 05:50:15 AM IST
Updated: Dec 5, 2018 10:28:08 AM IST

Salman Khan tops Forbes India Celebrity 100 list for third time in a rowBollywood actor Salman Khan topped the Forbes India Celebrity 100 list this year
Image: Mexy Xavier
Topping the Forbes India Celebrity 100 List seems to have become a habit for Salman Khan.

On the back of ₹253.25 crore earned through his film releases, television appearances and brand endorsements between October 1, 2017, and September 30, 2018 (our period under consideration), the 52-year-old actor became India’s highest-paid celebrity on the list for the third consecutive year.
What is heartening, though, is that a sportsperson is challenging an actor’s domination at the top for the first time. At No 2 is cricketer Virat Kohli, with ₹228.09 crore in earnings. Actor Akshay Kumar (₹185 crore) climbs up a spot to No 3.

With cumulative earnings of ₹3,140.25 crore, it was a lucrative year for the 100 celebrities on the list. Last year, the figure was 17 percent lower at ₹2,683 crore.

It was inevitable that actor Shah Rukh Khan, who did not have a single release during the period under review, would lose the second spot that he held last year with earnings of ₹170.5 crore.

However, despite his earnings dropping to ₹56 crore, he is at No 13, proving his strong pull as the face of several consumer brands.

Similar is the case with Priyanka Chopra who slips from No 7 last year (₹68 crore) to No 49 (₹18 crore) in 2018.

Actor Deepika Padukone at No 4 (₹112.8 crore) is the highest-earning woman celebrity, and becomes the first woman to break into the top five positions since the inception of the List in 2012. However, there are 18 women on the List this year, down from 21 in 2017.  

Cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar holds a unique distinction of featuring in the top 10 every year. Though he retired from the game in 2013, his earnings stood at ₹80 crore this year compared to the average of ₹73.12 crore over the past seven years. Brand Tendulkar is intact and going strong.  

Fifteen of the celebrities on the List are from South India. The Tamil and Telugu film industries have seven actors each, while Kerala has one.

The fickle nature of stardom is not the only reason some celebrities drop out of the List. Sometimes, it’s just about the volume of work.

As we have discovered over the years, box office performance alone does not impact earnings. For sports stars though it’s all about what they do on the field.

In the next few pages, read our in-depth profiles, trend stories and data analysis to get a glimpse into what goes behind the making of a star and a brand.

Celeb 100 List compiled by
Monica Bathija, Pranit Sarda, Naandika Tripathi, Naini Thaker, Neeraj Gangal, Ruchika Shah, Salil Panchal and Varsha Meghani


The 2018 Forbes India Celebrity 100 List rankings are based on estimates of entertainment-related earnings of celebrities. The period under consideration is October 1, 2017, to September 30, 2018.

For each celebrity, depending on category, we sought independent estimates from multiple sources—industry insiders, talent management agencies, film and TV production companies, publishers, music industry professionals, sports consultants, advertising and media agencies, brand marketers, celebrity managers and other relevant experts.

Our principal partners for the 2018 Forbes India Celebrity 100 List include GroupM ESP, Amazon India, Exceed Entertainment,,,,, Shakthi Girish (Galatta Cinema) and Cornerstone Sports and Entertainment.

Note:  The sources of earnings vary according to the category. For each celebrity, the primary sources of his/her earnings have been considered. These include professional fees and remuneration (including winnings but not government grants), royalties, or front-of-camera (film, television) appearances for all celebrities; but exclude live shows/ events (except for singers/musicians and comedians), interest and dividend income, leave and licence fees, income from businesses, investments, agriculture, and from special appearances at events. For an actor-producer or a director-producer, for instance, we have considered only her/his earnings as an actor or director, in case of a complete home production.

However, since these estimates are meant for a limited purpose, they may not be accurate or official and cannot be relied upon for any legal or compliance purposes. The ratings given are subjective and may not necessarily reflect the actual financial worth of the persons featured. The numbers are, therefore, merely indicative.

We (at Forbes India magazine, Network18 Media & Investments Limited) have done our best to verify the information published, but do not take any responsibility for the absolute accuracy of the information.

(This story appears in the 21 December, 2018 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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  • Salman Fan

    Congrats Salman Khan My Favorite Star always the best we love you

    on Dec 6, 2018
  • Hemant Sirohi

    love for salman khan. He is my favorite star in bollywood.

    on May 24, 2019