The Real Worth of Celebrities

Being a Celeb is not easy…. For every Shah Rukh Khan or Sachin Tendulkar, there are a hundred others vying for the same action

Published: Dec 13, 2013 06:44:30 AM IST
Updated: Dec 13, 2013 08:50:11 AM IST

Where would we be without Bollywood and cricket, India’s two dominant religions? Readers of Forbes India will rediscover this truth as we uncover our second Celebrity 100 list—the top 100 Indians who make a living by entertaining all of us and exhorting us to buy this product or that by signing up endorsement deals.

The Real Worth of Celebrities
The top notchers in the Celebrity 100, 2013 are the usual suspects—SRK, Salman Khan, MS Dhoni, and Amitabh Bachchan, among others. The biggest rake in the most—true to Pareto’s 80:20 law. Thus, while our 100 Celebs are collectively estimated to have earned Rs 2,622 crore (our calculations take earnings from entertainment and endorsements in the period from October 2012 to September 30, 2013), the top 10 walked away with the cream—43 percent of the loot, or Rs 1,145 crore. Together, the 100 grew their earnings by over 17 percent, comfortably beating inflation.

But being a Celeb is not easy—not least because of the competition. For every Shah Rukh Khan or Sachin Tendulkar who is shovelling in the cash, there are a hundred others vying for the same action. This is evident in our list this year, which saw 24 of last year’s celebs making a quiet exit. Among them: Viswanathan Anand, Boman Irani, the husband-wife duo of Riteish Deshmukh and Genelia, and southern stars Ajith and Vikram Kennedy. Others merely slid down the greasy pole: Kareena Kapoor and Virender Sehwag dropped out of the Top 10 even as Hrithik Roshan and Ranbir Kapoor joined the hallowed club. Virat Kohli, the aggressive cricketer on our cover, has risen within the Top 10 from No. 9 to No. 7. Katrina Kaif is the only woman in the Top 10.

Amitabh Bachchan, at No. 5, is clearly the most durable celeb in India. He also reported the highest increase in earnings among the Top 10: 27 percent. Old is gold.

But the Celeb List is not all about money, for fame is an intangible contributor to fortune. Our lists thus weigh both earnings and fame based on media and other mentions of celebrities. It’s not an easy thing to do—and needs lot of legwork and partnerships. Forbes India journalists spend months talking to people in Bollywood, publishers, sports marketing companies and other insiders to figure out who’s earning what. It’s enough to drive our Celeb List Project Editor, Deepak Ajwani , who spends the final weeks fretting about it. Our Design Director Anjan Das usually hits the high notes as we approach the Celeb issue, because it allows him to fool around again with new designs. But we love the team that does it.

But for all our efforts, we are not quite loved by most of the Celebs we write about. They don’t like us discussing their bank balances. But then, our readers do. And that counts.

R Jagannathan
Editor-in-Chief, Forbes India
Twitter id: @TheJaggi

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(This story appears in the 27 December, 2013 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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