In the anxious days before a star signs on a film, entertainment news takes on a rather businesslike appearance. Figures are discussed. Salaries. Percentages. There’s little by way of actual proof for these numbers, but ‘sources say’, so all’s forgiven. These transactions, when they eventually happen, flow in one direction: from producers to stars. What’s rarely spoken of is how much film producers earn.
Filings with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs show that the men and women who run the largest unlisted companies in Mumbai’s entertainment industry earn well (and in one case, eye-poppingly well). Karan Johar, Sajid Nadiadwala, Excel Entertainment, and the Yash Raj Films family are a few we looked at. Their companies made payments in the form of unsecured loans, regular remuneration, commissions, and as ‘payments to artist and technicians’ (sic).
The Nadiadwalas, as Sajid and his wife are referred to, are directors of a company with reported revenues of Rs 23 crore in 2008-09. The same year, they reported pre-tax profits of Rs 1.46 crore. For their work, the directors’ remuneration worked out to Rs 782,004.
Excel Entertainment, run by Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani, paid its directors Rs 21 crore as fees under ‘payments to artist and technicians’. The previous year, the directors earned Rs 6.06 crore under the same category.
Johar, whose production house Dharma released the massive My Name is Khan, doesn’t list his earnings. The only indication of any sort of payment comes from a 2008 entry in the ledger where the company acknowledges giving the filmmaker an unsecured loan of Rs 8.2 crore.
Things are a little clearer with the Chopras. Yash Chopra pulled in Rs 3.6 crore in 2008-09. Aditya, who lives among the shadows in filmdom, made Rs 5.75 crore. His brother Uday earned Rs 1 crore.▪