The world and its distant cousins, by now, know that Akshay Kumar will soon be stepping into model Padma Lakshmi’s shoes in the desi adaptation of Top Chef that currently airs on AXN.Star Plus will add the Indian ‘tadka’ to the show. The production house anchoring the show internationally is Magical Elves Production, the same company that helmed the popular Project Runway.
The buzz is that Kumar, who is currently shooting for Anees Bazmee’s Thank You in Canada with Sonam Kapoor, has been offered twice the fee he was paid for hosting two seasons of Khatron Ke Khiladi on Colors, in 2008 and 2009. The first season of the show was also considered the channel driver, ever since it started earning the channel its ratings.
Kumar was reportedly paid Rs 1.25 crore per episode (Rs 110 crore for 13 episodes in all) and Rs 90 lakh an episode for Season One and Two respectively. The episodes during Season One were telecast at 10 pm. Following higher expectations, Season Two was pulled into the 9 pm slot. Sources claim that the deal between Star Plus and him has been finalised and he will be paid twice his price.
“He has been offered between Rs 1.5 crore to 1.8 crore an episode, which is higher than what he worked for on Colors. He becomes the second actor to double his fee and, hopefully, overtakes Salman Khan, who is being paid twice his last season’s fee for Dus Ka Dum Season Three. The paperwork has been completed. Akshay has agreed to do the show and once he returns from Canada, the shooting schedule, venue and other details will be locked,” says our source, close to the actor.
Our source adds that Kumar had constantly been getting mails from fans across the world to do a TV show for housewives. “His fans were urging him to move on to something that was not action. He worked as a chef when he was in Bangkok, learning martial arts. He loves cooking and, even today, can stir up a cool meal. Akshay was keen when Star Plus approached him for the show, though he had other offers,” adds our source.
Akshay Kumar admits that whenever he is in Bangkok, he ensures that he visits the place he used to work at. “It has nostalgic value. It’s the place where I worked and funded my martial arts education. Bangkok has almost become a second home, because I’ve shot so many films there. The traffic situation hasn’t changed much. It is still as congested as it was then. The only difference I see is the bridges,” he adds.
The actor’s spokesperson confirms that the channel has approached him for the show, but refuses to add more to the information. “Nothing has been decided as yet. Once the paperwork is sorted, everyone will know the details,” the spokesperson says.
When asked, Vasudha Jha from Star Plus refused to comment on the show and the money being offered to Khiladi Kumar, pointing out, “It’s against the channel’s policies to discuss money matters and financial dealings with the press.” Currently, the actor is working on Thank You. His upcoming releases, this year, include Vipul Shah’s Action Replay, Nikhil Advani’s Patiala House and Farah Khan’s Tees Maar Khan.
It’s an American reality show, which started in 2006. The show has chefs competing against each other after which they are judged by a panel of professional chefs and other notable people from the food and wine industry. The American version is currently in its seventh season with hosts, Katie Lee Joel and Padma Lakshmi. So far, there have been 61 guest judges on the show. Of these, 20 have won the Food and Wine Best New Chef Award.
The big bucks
Dus Ka Dum - Season One (Sony):
Rs 1 crore per episode, 30 episodes in all
Dus Ka Dum - Season Two (Sony):
Rs 80 lakh per episode, 14-25 episodes in all
Shah Rukh Khan
Kaun Banega Crorepati - Season Three (Star Plus): Rs 75 crore for the season
Kya Aap Paanchvi Paas Se Tez Hain (Star Plus): Rs 1 crore per episode
Kaun Banega Crorepati Season One (Star Plus): Rs 50 lakh per episode, four episodes a week.
Kaun Banega Crorepati Season Two (Star Plus): Rs 1 crore per episode, four episodes a week.
Bigg Boss Season Three (Colors): Rs 1.75 crore an episode, 13 episodes
National Bingo Night (Colors): Rs 1 crore per episode, 13 episodes per season
Bigg Boss - Season Two (Colors): Rs 45 lakh per episode, one episode per week for 13 weeks
Khatron Ke Khiladi (Colors): Rs 1.25 crore per episode, 16 episodes in all
Khatron Ke Khiladi - Season Two (Colors): Rs 90 lakh an episode 16 episodes in all
* All figures mentioned here are approximate market figures