Asia’s highest paid actor is, not surprisingly, Jackie Chan, who has acted for Hollywood since the 1980s. Next on the list is Rajinikanth, whose last film, Sivaji, earned him an estimated Rs 20 crore and its producers a profit of Rs 60 crore. His new film Endhiran cost Rs 150 crore, indicating a staggering confidence in his brand.
Much of the money that Rajinikanth and his films make is earned in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Unlike with Chan, there are no dollar pay cheques; unlike with Karan Johar, there are as yet no large NRI audiences, though this is changing. Instead, the money is earned in small south Indian theatres, where millions pay as little as Rs 10 to watch and rewatch his movies. Upon this humble, broad base has a fortune been built. Rajinikanth may well be one of India’s most successful, consistent bottom-of-the-pyramid entrepreneurs.