India’s celebrity disc jockeys are making a killing this shaadi season. And with year-end bashes stacked right up till the New Year’s Eve, the going’s only getting better.
Industry sources say the figures are hitting the roof as top-of-the-line DJs pick up lakhs for three-hour sets at high-profile weddings in India and abroad.
Mumbai-based DJ Akhtar Fazel, credited as one of the hottest names on the circuit, is booked till March. “I’ve played at the Canary Islands, Belgium and the Amby Valley. I move to Bali on Monday and then to other hotspots in Southeast Asia. The circuit’s bubbling and people are willing to pay huge sums to get us to spin at their wedding functions,” he says.
Akhtar’s humble enough to restrict his package to Rs 2.5 lakh for a three-hour “console-ation therapy”. “But with the business class airfare and five-star stay thrown in, it comes out to be close to five any way. I think that’s fair,” he says.
Other big names, Aqeel Ali, Akbar Sami and Suketu, are having a ball at the mandap. Sources say Aqeel tops the chart with close to Rs 4 lakh, while Suketu takes home two. “This time of the year is great for DJs who’ve made a mark. They command a high price to play at weddings,” says DJ Sunny Sarid, a top Delhi DJ. Sarid says, “A well-known DJ charges a lakh and a half upwards for a three-hour set. It can be way more.”
DJ Ashrafi confirms that the wedding bazaar’s treating DJs well. A DJ’s assistant, who wishes to remain anonymous, says that they are also flooded with fringe benefits at such A-list bashes. “Most of these weddings involve NRI families with disposable incomes. They shower DJs with gifts over and above the promised fee,” he says.
However DJ Akbar Sami says, “It’s not as good as it was two years ago. People just don’t want to loosen their purse strings and are still blaming it on recession.”