Mumbai, Nov. 28 -- It's not for no reason that they are ready to get by on limited food, 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 making the celebrity contestants on reality TV show Bigg Boss put up with all this and more.
Sources reveal that in the last 10 weeks, actors such as Tanishaa Mukherji and Gauahar Khan have made more money than the actual cash prize of '50 lakh.
According to sources, at '7.5 lakh per week, Tanishaa is the highest paid contestant this season, while Gauahar is fetching '6 lakh per week. Actors Armaan Kohli and Kushal Tandon are drawing '5 lakh and VJ Andy and wrestler Sangram Singh are believed to be fetching anything between '3 lakh to '3.5 lakh per head, every week. TV bahus Pratyusha Banerjee and Kamya Punjabi were reportedly signed for anything between '3.5 to '4 lakh each. "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 Kamaal R Khan, a former contestant on the show.
"For instance, cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu was approached by the makers and he drew '10 lakh a day. I settled for '2 lakh per day and actor Vindu Dara Singh, who eventually won the show, merely got '25,000 per week," he adds.
Industry sources claim that the least paid contestants of this season include actor Elli Avram ('75,000 to '1 lakh per week), model singer Sofia Hayat ('1.5 lakh a week), yoga instructor Vivek Mishra ('3 lakh a week) and actor Ajaz Khan ('2.5-3 lakh a week). The channel's spokesperson refused to confirm these figures, only saying, "We can't comment on the payments of the artistes."
What's in the contract... 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 other reality shows, and have to be at the channel's beck and call. They need to attend its awards shows," the contestant says, on the condition of anonymity.