Meet outsider who was given no money for first film, battled depression, now charges Rs 20 crore per film

This actress worked in her first Bollywood film for free but now charges Rs 20 crore per film

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Meet outsider who was given no money for first film, battled depression, now charges Rs 20 crore per film
The actress who charges Rs 20 crore per film


Films are big money and that is no state secret. Some of the biggest Indian films make hundreds of crores, some even over a thousand. Naturally, the stars who front these films command extremely high salaries, to the tune of several crore rupees per film. But that only happens when actors become established and have drawing power. Early on in their careers, many get paid peanuts. Case in point – this superstar who is one of India’s highest-paid actresses today, but once worked for free.

The outsider who did her debut film for free

Deepika Padukone was a successful model as a teenager. By the time she was 20, Deepika had walked the ramp for several major designers and featured in the Kingfisher calendar. In 2006, Farah Khan signed her own for a film she was planning – Happy New Year. However, she did not make the film and moved on to another project. Fortunately, Deepika was still her first choice for the female lead in the other film too. The film was Om Shanti Om and Deepika made her Bollywood debut with it. As per reports, the actress was so enamoured with the idea of working opposite Shah Rukh Khan in a Farah film that she did not even charge her fees for it. Deepika’s first release was a Kannada film Aishwarya and Om Shanti Om became her breakthrough role.

Deepika Padukone’s struggles with mental health issues

Deepika has been one of the few Bollywood stars, who have been open about their mental health struggles. The actress has frequently spoken about her fight against depression and how she was able to overcome it. At several events and in interviews, the star emphasised upon the need to address mental health issues. In 2016, she became the brand ambassador for the NGO Indian Psychiatric Society and on her foundation's first anniversary, the two organisations collaborated to launch a ampaign dedicated to victims and survivors of depression.

Deepika Padukone’s stardom today

As of 2024, Deepika is one of the highest-paid actresses in India. For her last big release – Fighter – she received top billing alongside her male co-star Hrithik Roshan. Reports say that the actress charged Rs 15 crore for the film. Trade analyst Manobala Vijayabalan tweeted that Deepika hiked her fees for her next venture – the pan-India film Kalki 2898 AD. The actress is reportedly charging Rs 20 crore for it. Also starring Prabhas, Amitabh Bachchan, and Kamal Haasan, the Nag Ashwin directorial is billed as India’s most expensive film till date and will be releasing in June.

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