Rohit Shetty’s 25-crore deal!

That’s what producer Sangeeta Ahir has paid the filmmaker; the highest fee ever paid to a Bollywood director


We live in interesting times. Directors are getting paid as much as some leading actors, at least the younger lot like Ranveer Singh, Sidharth Malhotra, Varun Dhawan and Arjun Kapoor. Rohit Shettyhas been paid the princely sum of Rs25 crore, for Sangeeta Ahir’s next, a remake of the Tamil movie Soodhu Kavvum.

Branded with money
Says a source, “Sangeeta wanted to get a top director for her production house and that doesn’t come cheap. Rohit Shetty is being wooed by the biggest studios. And this isn’t  a new development. He was signed by UTV for a similar amount, three years ago. Rohit delivers hits and every actor in the country wants to work with him today, so whatever he charges is justified. Perhaps the only other director who get paid more than him is Rajkumar Hirani, but he isn’t available as he is tied to Vinod Chopra productions and takes a percentage of the profit, rather than charge a fee. This is also a model followed by Rohit but with Sangeeta, he chose to charge a director’s fee rather than come on board as a co-producer.”

Sangeeta says, “Yes, we have paid Rohit an exorbitant price. It’s the highest fee given to any director, but then it works as Rohit Shetty is a huge brand in himself. It’s a comedy film and his forte, so people want to see it. Right now, it is still in the scripting stage. We haven’t approached any actor as yet. I am waiting for Rohit to return from Hyderabad where he’s shooting for Dilwale and then we will finalise everything.” When quizzed about the Rs25 crore fee, she simply says, “Yes.”

Trending trade  
Taran Adarsh says, “Rohit is a brand today. Even the common man knows Rohit. While they go to see a film, and hear it’s directed by Rohit Shetty it makes it a bigger and better experience for them. If Rohit is asking for astronomical fee and getting it, why not? He has consistently given the maximum number of and many Rs100-crore films. Today the economics of the box office has changed — from Rs100 to Rs200 cr now, box-office is hitting the Rs300 crore mark so there’s an upward trend for directors too who become partners, stake holders or charge higher. That’s how Bollywood is functioning these days and every top director is upping his fee with every successful film. Rajkumar Hirani was a stake holder in PK. Overseas, too, is a huge market today. Not just India, PK has made 5 million HKD and Rs100 crore in China which is unheard of! So if the film is making so much money, the director will definitely increase his price as the film is selling on his name. Why not take a substantial piece of the pie and become a partner in profits or hike fees?”

Lowering the risk
Amul Mohan adds, “The trend is not so much as hiking their fees as much as big directors turning profit-sharing producers, like Rajkumar did with PK and Rohit Shetty did withChennai Express. Rather than taking a nominal fee, it makes sense for well-established, successful directors to get into it as profit-sharing partners. For a big director, once he reaches the Rs10 crore fee, it stagnates because it doesn’t make sense for the producer to pay him more, hence the profit-sharing bit comes in. Or like Sangeeta Ahir’s film where he’s paid a humongous amount. A director would rather make big money in one film than sign two or three films for Rs6-8 crore or a profit-sharing film which may flop where he doesn’t then recover anything. To cover up that risk he may sign one film for a huge amount. Or like directors Abbas-Mastan who turned producers with their latest hit Kis Kisko Pyaar Karoon.”

Bollywood’s top guns’ pay packets (approx)
Mohit Suri – Rs8cr
Pre-Ek Villain, Rs 6 crore. Post-Villain Rs8 crore plus 33 per cent partnership (eg: Balaji’s Half Girlfriend is a three-part deal with Mohit, Ekta Kapoor and writer Chetan Bhagat.)

Aanand L Rai – Rs8-10cr
…but he has a back-end deal with Eros where he is a co-producer like the Abhay Deol-Diana Penty starrer, Happy Bhaag Jayegi. Like Vidhu Vinod Chopra got Raju Hirani’s creative talent and made him an in-house producer, Eros did the same with Aanand L Rai. Today Hirani is producing Saala Khadoos with Madhavan along with Chopra. The creativity of Hirani coupled with the marketing savviness of Chopra thus making for a deadly combination!

Kabir Khan – Rs8-10cr
Pre-Bajrangi Bhaijaan would get paid Rs8-10 crore, but nobody knows if he’s hiked his fee and by how much or if he’ll turn producer himself.

Prabhu Dheva – Rs7-8cr

Does three films in a year and charges Rs7-8 crore per film.