Bollywood actresses are some of the most beautiful in the world and also some of the toughest as they have to compete and survive in an industry that produces more movies a year than Hollywood – about one thousand movies a year, and has an audience size of 3 billion and growing. In terms of revenue, Hollywood dominates. In some years, just the revenue from the releases of a single studio is enough to measure up to the entire Bollywood industry. These are some of Bollywood’s leading actresses.
Net Worth: $15 million
Vidya Balan’s first role was in a television sitcom series where she took on the role of Radhika, a bespectacled teenager. She was offered more roles in television after that role, but as she wanted to be a movie star, she declined, taking her parents’ advice to complete her education first.
During her studies for a master’s degree, she was cast as the lead role in a Malayalam film Chakram. This led to contracts with further roles in Malayalam language films. However, Chakram was delayed in its opening and its producers took it out on her, blaming her for bringing bad luck.
This unfortunate event led her to shift her sights on Tamil films where she also found difficulty as she was replaced by other actresses in a few films she had originally been csst for.
Her film debut came with the Bengali film Bhalo Theko, released in 2003, for which she later awarded an Anandalok Purashkar for Best Actress. Anandalok Purashkar is the most prominent awards event for Bengali language cinema. From there Balan slowly but surely gained attention. Her collaboration with producers like Vidhu Vinod Chopra helped but her movies during this period between 2003 to about 2008 were a mix bag of varying commercial and artistic successes.
From 2009 onwards, Vidya Balan’s career started to blossom as she became established in Bollywood. Her breakthrough role in Paa won her first Filmfare Award and Screen Award for Best Actress. This was followed by Ishqiya (2010) and No One Killed Jessica (2011) which were both critically acclaimed. Her role in The Dirty Picture (2011) was praised by The New York Times which said Balan redefined the Hindi film heroine. The Dirty Picture was about the controversial Indian actress Silk Smitha.
After The Dirty Picture, Balan suffered another period of setback from about 2013 till her role in Tumhari Sulu where she took on a comic part. This film won her her fifth Screen Award and fourth Filmfare Award for Best Actress, making this her first commercial success since 2011.
Notwithstanding periods of setbacks, Vidya Balan has certainly done very well; and as of 2020, she is reported to have a net worth of some $15 million. Her current earnings per movie are approximately one million and she has made some $27 million in a total of 22 movies.
Net Worth: $30 million
Ameesha Patel’s debut role was to star opposite the Bollywood superstar Hrithik Roshan in Kaho Naa… Pyaar Hai in 2000. The film was a huge commercial hit, and Patel won an award for Best Debut. She followed this success with an even bigger success in Badri, a Telugu film in 2000, starring opposite Pawan Kalyan.
In Gadar: Ek Prem Katha, Patel was to climb even higher as the film became the top-grossing film of the year and was widely regarded as the biggest hit of the 21st century grossing some Rs 973 million or $14 million in India. Her performance was praised and won her the Filmfare Special Performance Award, as well as nominations for Best Actress at various other award ceremonies.
In the early 2000s, Patel struggled as her films were largely box-office failures although artistically, she won praise in the 2006 Ankahee.
In 2011, Ameesha Patel started her own production company called Ameesha Patel Productions, a joint venture with a friend and business partner. In 2020, she announced a Punjabi film, Fauji Band, which will be produced by her own production house, Magnificent Films Productions.
Although Ameesha Patel also had a period of struggles, she still managed, as of 2020, to have built a personal wealth of $30 million. Insiders said her net worth was accumulated quickly from her two initial films which were phenomenally successful – Kaho Naa… Pyaar Hai Gadar: Ek Prem Katha.
Net Worth: $15 million
Preity Zinta had early success with Dil Se. in 1998 and in Soldier 1998. For these roles, she was recognized with the Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut. Her breakthrough role was in the drama Kya Kehna in 2000 which was a big box office success.
Her performances in Chori Chori Chupke Chupke (2001), Dil Chahta Hai (2001), Dil Hai Tumhaara (2002), and Armaan (2003) earned her further recognition.
For her role in the drama Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003), Zinta received the Filmfare Award for Best Actress for her performance. She went on to enjoy two consecutive annual top-grossing films in India, the science fiction film Koi… Mil Gaya (2003) and the romantic drama Veer-Zaara (2004).
In 2008, she acted in her first international film, the Canadian drama, Heaven on Earth (2008), for which she was awarded the Silver Hugo Award for Best Actress, and was nominated for the Genie Award for Best Actress.
Zinta is also known for her steadfastness and bravery. She was lauded for not retracting her witness statement in court against Bharat Singh in 2003 when he was tried for charges relating to organized crimes.
Preity Zinta is also an energetic performer on stage, and has had numerous world tours like her Temptation 2004 show.
As of 2020, Zinta is reported to have a personal wealth of $15 million.
Madhuri Dixit Nene
Net Worth: $30 million
Madhuri Dixit is the recipient of a host of awards and honors such as six Filmfare Awards and a Padma Shri in 2008 from the Government of India.
Her first role was in the drama Abodh in 1984, although her first commercially successful role was in the action-romance Tezaab in 1998. From there on, she went on to take leading roles in Dil 1990, Beta 1992 and Hum Aapke Hain Koun 1994, and Dil To Pagal Hai 1997, among others. These roles established her as one of the highest-paid Bollywood actresses in the 90s and 2000s, and for which she won four Filmfare Awards for Best Actress.
Her other commercially successful films during this period include Ram Lakhan (1989), Tridev (1989), Thanedaar (1990), Kishen Kanhaiya (1990), Saajan (1991), Khalnayak (1993), and Raja (1995).
Madhuri Dixit’s biggest box-office to date is the 2019 adventure comedy Total Dhamaal.
Dixit is also a good singer having released songs like Kaahe Chhed for the film Devdas (2002) and Soniye Mil Ja for the film Aaja Nachle (2007). She is also a popular endorser of beauty and other products in India, and all over the world. She owns her production company, RnM Moving Pictures.
As of 2020, Madhuri Dixit has an estimated net worth of $30 million.
Net Worth: $30 million
Born in Hong Kong during British administration, Katrina Kaif was a successful model before becoming a Hindi cinema actress. Her early films were panned for their lack of commercial and critical success. However, with romantic comedies like Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya (2005) and Namastey London (2007), and Race, an action thriller (2008) and Singh Is Kinng (2008), which were all box-office hits, Kaif became a bankable Bollywood star. However, she was criticized for her acting, taking on the same roles, and the male-dominated nature of her films.
In 2009, Katrina was cast in Kabir Khan’s New York, a terrorism drama that told the tale of three friends whose lives were upended when one of them was wrongfully detained after 9/11. New York brought Kaif critical acclaim and from there, she went on to star in films like the romantic comedy, Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani (2009), and the political thriller, Raajneeti (2010), which was hugely successful at the box office, raking in $20 million.
In more recent years, Kaif has not been as consistent with the success of her films, critically and commercially. But in 2019, she collaborated with Salman Khan and Ali Abbas Zafar again in Bharat a drama which is an adaptation of a South Korean film Ode to My Father. The film went on to become one of the highest-grossing Hindi films of 2019. She reportedly replaced Priyanka Chopra who opted to leave the film only days before she was due to shoot her scenes.
For an actress who didn’t speak much Hindi when she started, Katrina Kaif is, as of 2020, estimated to have a personal fortune of $30 million.
Net Worth: $40 million
Winning the Miss World contest in 1994 made her famous overnight internationally. After her win, she received numerous offers to act in films, and Mani Ratnam’s Iruvar (1997) (a Tamil film) was her acting debut. She went on to star in her first Hindi film, Aur Pyaar Ho Gaya, in the same year. In 1998, she enjoyed her first commercial success in the Tamil romantic drama, Jeans, which also had the distinction of being the most expensive movie made in India at the time. It was, however, in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999) and Devdas (2002) that she achieved the highest accolade when she won two Filmfare Awards for Best Actress.
Since then, she has gone on to gain critical acclaim in various films such as the Tamil romance Kandukondain Kandukondain (2000), playing Tagore’s heroine, Binodini, in the Bengali film Chokher Bali (2003), a depressed woman, in the drama Raincoat (2004), Kiranjit Ahluwalia in the British drama film Provoked (2006), and a nurse in the drama Guzaarish (2010).
She was honored with the Padma Shri in 2009 by the Government of India.
As of 2020, this beauty queen is thought to have built a net worth of $40 million.
Net Worth: $40 million
Anushka Sharma started as a model by walking her first major runway at the Lakme Fashion Week for Wendell Rodricks’ Les Vamps Show. On her later move to the movie industry, she was reported to have commented: “I think I was born to emote and act. I would walk down the ramp and smile and they used to say, ‘give us a blank look.’ It was really difficult, not to smile”.
Her debut role set her playing opposite Shahrukh Khan in the romantic film Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi in 2008. The film was a huge success and her performance was praised. Film critic Taran Adarsh said, “Anushka looks the character and surprises you with a confident performance. It’s no small achievement to share screen space with an actor of the caliber of SRK and Anushka manages it very well from start to end.”
Since then, she has been cast in various leading roles in a few other romantic films, but it was in Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012) that she won the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress. She then took on a different role to play strong women in films like the crime thriller NH10 (2015) and in the dramas Dil Dhadakne Do (2015), Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (2016), and Sui Dhaaga (2018) which were critically praised.
Her highest-grossing film came with the sports drama Sultan (2016), and Rajkumar Hirani’s religious satire PK (2014), and the biopic Sanju (2018).
Anushka Sharma also has her own production company, Clean Slate Filmz, which produced NH10. She also endorses numerous products and has her own line of clothing for women.
As of 2020, this young actress has an estimated net worth of $40 million.
Net Worth: $60 million
Kareena Kapoor achieved early success with films like the 2000 Refugee (a war film), Asoka (a historical drama), and the melodrama Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, both released in 2001. After these early successes, her career went into a slower gear until 2004 when she starred in Chameli playing a sex worker. After that, she established a name for herself playing character roles in Dev, the 2004 drama about a riot victim, and in the 2006 crime thriller Omkara, based on William Shakespeare’s Desdemona.
Since then, she has enjoyed numerous successes with romantic comedies like Jab We Met (2007) and thrillers like Kurbaan (2009) and dramas like We Are Family (2010).
Kareena Kapoor is the recipient of various awards, including six Filmfare Awards, and is one of Bollywood’s highest-paid actresses. She reportedly charges $2.6 million for each movie, and she is estimated to have built for herself a total personal wealth of $60 million as of 2020.
As at the time of writing, Kareena and her son were seen leaving Mumbai for Dharamshala to see her husband Saif who is shooting a movie there. She said: “It will be great to travel to the mountains and spend time in the open air and sunshine. It’s been a year where we had to be at home for a long duration, So, going to Dharamshala and being there for a few days will be great”.
Net Worth: $60 million
Priyanka Chopra was the winner of the Miss World pageant in 2000 and is one of the most popular actresses of Indian descent worldwide. Initially studying to be an aeronautical engineer, she started receiving offers for movie roles after her pageant win.
She also achieved early successes with her Bollywood debut in The Hero: Love Story of a Spy (2003). In the next couple of years, she took the leading role in the box-office hits Andaaz (2003) and Mujhse Shaadi Karogi (2004), and received critical acclaim for her breakout role in the 2004 thriller Aitraaz.
Chopra also starred in Krrish and Don (both 2006) which were big box-office hits. She reprised her roles in their sequels.
Between 2015 and 2018, she changed continent, and starred as Alex Parrish in the ABC thriller Quantico in the U.S. While living in the U.S., she has also appeared in the 2007 film Baywatch and the 2019 film Isn’t It Romantic. In 2019, she returned to Bollywood to headline the biopic The Sky is Pink.
She has received numerous accolades, including a National Film Award and five Filmfare Awards. In 2016, the Government of India honored her with the Padma Shri.
This world-famous actress is thought to command a personal fortune of $60 million as of 2020. She reportedly charges about $2.8 million for each movie in India.
Net Worth: $65 million
Born in Copenhagen and raised in Bangalore, Deepika Padukone wanted to be a national badminton player but left her sports career to be a fashion model. While modelling, she received offers for film roles and made her acting debut in 2006, having been cast in the lead role in the Kannada film, Aishwarya.
In her first Bollywood release, she played opposite Shah Rukh Khan in the romantic film Om Shanti Om (2007) which won her the Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut.
Starring in the romantic comedy Cocktail (2012), which was a box-office hit, marked a turning point in her career. Further starring roles in the romantic comedies Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani and Chennai Express (both 2013), the heist comedy Happy New Year (2014), Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s period dramas Bajirao Mastani (2015) and Padmaavat (2018), and the Hollywood action film XXX: Return of Xander Cage (2017) established her as a Bollywood superstar.
She received critical praise for her performance in the tragic romance Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela (2013) and in the comedy-drama Piku (2015). Both these films won her two Filmfare Awards for Best Actress.
In 2018, She started her own company Ka Productions under which she produced Chhapaak (2020), in which she also starred as an acid attack survivor.
This Bollywood superstar is estimated to have a personal wealth of $65 million. In 2020, she became the first Indian actor to star in an advertising campaign by Louis Vuitton.