So, you thought Bollywood actors charge only to perform at weddings? Well, there’s more — a smile from a starlet comes costs Rs 5 lakh, and hugging the groom has a price tag of Rs 2 lakh. Ask R.K. Chudawala, a 34-year-old Delhi-based diamond merchant, who recently ‘hired’ top Bollywood stars to jazz up his wedding celebrations in Singapore. “The idea was to stun the guests and make the mood glamorous,” he explains.
An event organiser reveals on condition of anonymity, “The ordinary package, which costs around Rs 5 lakh for actresses like Minissha Lamba, Celina Jaitly and Amrita Rao, is inclusive of getting pictures clicked with the bride and groom, and their friends and family. In case of high profile actresses like Bipasha Basu, it goes up to Rs 50 lakh.
However, there are additional charges to sit with the bride on the arm of her chair, or mingle with the crowd. The actors ask for every detail of the event, and look for things in the itinerary that can help them earn more. If we tell them that the media is invited and ask them to additionally give bytes on wishing the couple well, and to clap during the
, they argue that it is not accounted for, and ask for a heftier amount.”
While female actors charge extra to show that they’re “part of the family”, male actors are paid a few lakhs more to wear the
, which indicates that one is a close family member. “Stars charge on a minute-to-minute basis,” reiterates Ritu Dhanuka, a wedding planner in Mumbai.
Last year, at a high profile industrialist’s wedding, stars like Shilpa Shetty, Malaika Arora and Urmila Matondkar were reportedly paid between Rs 5-15 lakh each to stand on either side of the aisle and welcome the bride and groom. “Even though everyone knows it is a financial deal, the actors make the family members feel like genuine friends to up their status in the eyes of the guests,” says Sanjay Dharewa, owner of a celebrity management company that deals with A-listers like Shah Rukh Khan and Hrithik Roshan.
While some actors are ready to go the extra mile, others choose to keep distance. “I had once arranged for Kangna Ranaut to attend a wedding. Years, later, when she became a star, the groom showed up at a corporate function she was attending, and screamed, ‘
Aap to meri shaadi mein aaye the
.’ She doesn’t accept wedding invites since.”