Mahesh Babu to Allu Arjun: How much do Tollywood’s highest paid actors earn?


APRIL 26, 2018

With Telugu cinema gaining international recognition across the globe, the A-listers in T-town are enjoying their status in the industry. Tollywood is ruled by star-kids these days and their movies rake in the moolah.

Tamil cinemas reach is better than Tollywood, according to trade analysts. But, producers in Tamil are facing huge losses despite their films receiving great responses. Why?

Critics say that the rising remuneration of Tamil actors is one of the main reasons why producers in Kollywood fail to make profits.

Recently, producer KE Gnanavel Raja of Studio Green fame openly stated, “A big Telugu hero with a 100-crore business, charges just Rs 15 crores as his salary. Their heroes are reasonable and down-to-earth. In Kollywood, a hero in a similar stature charges almost Rs 50 crores as his remuneration. Most of her heroes are self-centred. We have a lot to learn from Tollywood.”

KE Gnanavel also added that if this situation continues he would produce films only in Telugu and not in Tamil.

The recent Kollywood strike which was initially a protest against the Digital Service Providers eventually became a strike that addressed a lot of issues. Among the pressing issues, the rising remuneration of actors was also brought up and it was announced that their salaries would be streamlined.

‘How long will it take for the Tamil actors to take a cue from the Telugu actors?’ is the question that is running in the minds of the producers.

Let us take a look at a list of Telugu actors and their affordable salaries.

Telugu actor Mahesh Babu – Photo Credit: Filmysouth


After starting off his career as a child artiste, Mahesh Babu went on to become a hero, just like his father Krishna. He commands a huge fan following in Telugu states and is one of the most sought-after actors in Tollywood. Mahesh Babu openly stated that he has been disappointing his fans by churning out underwhelming films like Brahmotsavam and Spyder. As expected, his recently-released Bharat Ane Nenu shattered box-office records on its opening day and still continues its dream run. He is one of the highest paid actors with a remuneration of Rs 18 crores.

Jr NTR :

The actors films that came out in the last couple of years have become huge hits and he ended up earning Rs 18 to Rs 20 crores per film. Though Jr NTR heavily relies on commercial cinema, his last couple of films such as Nannaku Prematho, Janatha Garage and Jai Lava Kusa had an important social message in it. His remuneration is likely to increase as he will be working with Trivikram Srinivas and SS Rajamouli this year.


It has been over 22 years since Pawan Kalyan made his acting debut, and today with 23 films in his filmography, he is one of the biggest Tollywood stars. With just one release in 2017, he has earned a whopping Rs 18 crore as his remuneration. His film, Agnyaathavasi which hit the theatres in 2018 failed to rake in profits. But, the craze for Pawan Kalyan doesn’t seem to die down at all even when the actor is busy in politics.

Telugu actor Prabhas – Photo Credit: Filmysouth


Fondly called Tollwyoods Darling, Prabhas’s fame rose sky high after the success of Baahubali series. According to a few reports, he was paid a whopping Rs 25 crore for Baahubali: The Conclusion. With Saaho and an untitled Hindi film on the cards, Prabhas has already beat the likes of Mahesh Babu and Pawan Kalyan.

Telugu actor Allu Arjun – Photo Credit: Filmysouth


With his Sarrainodu becoming the most watched Hindi dubbed film in India, his next project Duvvada Jagannadham was declared a huge hit as it earned $135 million worldwide. Apart from films, he had also appeared in commercials which contributed to his Rs 14 crore remuneration. The actor is now gearing up for the release of Naa Peru Surya Naa Illu India which is scheduled to release on May 4, 2018.


Having lasted a decade in this industry, Ram Charan had acted in 10 films, out of which 9 films were declared hit. Apart from acting in films, he also produced his fathers comeback film Khaidi No 150. According to reports, he charges Rs 10 to 14 crores for a movie. It might increase in future as he will be seen in a multi-starrer directed by SS Rajamouli.


Known as the Mass Maharaja of Tollywood, Ravi Teja relies most on commercial pot-boilers. Even though he has churned out few duds like his recent film Touch Chesi Chudu his career still seems to be on top. Reportedly, he charges Rs 10 crore for a film.

Courtesy/Source: India Today