It’s not for no reason that they are ready to take a dip in deep sh*t (remember the cow dung task?), withstand electric shocks and swallow their egos while getting scolded by actor Salman Khan on national television. The fat pay cheque that they are drawing every week is what’s keeping the celebrity contestants of reality TV show Bigg Boss put up with all this and more. Sources reveal that in the last 10 weeks, actors such as Tanisha Mukherji and Gauhar Khan have made more money than the actual cash prize of Rs. 50 lakh.
According to sources, at Rs. 7.5 lakh per week, Tanisha is the highest paid contestant this season, while Gauahar is fetching Rs. 6 lakh per week. Actors Armaan Kohli and Kushal Tandon are drawing Rs. 5 lakh and VJ Andy and wrestler Sangram Singh are believed to be fetching anything between Rs. 3 lakh to Rs. 3.5 lakh each, every week. TV bahus Pratyusha Banerjee and Kamya Punjabi were reportedly signed for anything between Rs. 3.5 to Rs. 4 lakh respectively.
“The contract for every contestant depends on how he or she has got the show. If the channel approached them, they can demand big money. But if they approached the channel, then they end up agreeing on a paltry sum for the heck of grabbing eyeballs,” says actor Kamal Rashid Khan, a former show contestant. “For instance, cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu was approached by the makers and he drew Rs. 10 lakh a day. I settled for Rs. 2 lakh per day and actor Vindu Dara Singh who eventually won the show merely got Rs. 25,000 per week,” he adds.
Industry sources claim that the least paid contestants of this season include actor
Elli Avram (Rs 75,000 to Rs. 1 lakh/week), model-singer Sofia Hayat (Rs 1.5 lakh/week), nude yoga guru Vivek Mishra (Rs 3 lakh/week) and actor Ajaz Khan (Rs 2.5-3 lakh/week). The channel’s spokesperson refuses to confirm on record, “We can’t comment on the payments of the artists.”
What the contract says...
An ex-contestant reveals that the show’s contract includes clauses that require participants to provoke the inmates or try and get cosy with them for more moolah. “If an inmate provides a lot of content, he/she can renegotiate the fee with the creative team. Wild card entrants, too, often hike their price. Also, the contestants are usually bound by a contract of six months, during which they cannot participate in any other reality show, and have to be at the channel’s beck. They also need to attend its award shows,” the contestant says, on the condition of anonymity.