Inside Move: Bollywood ballyhoo

S. Africa draws line on concert fees

For the past two years, South African promoters have tapped into the country’s million-strong Indian population by bringing over Bollywood stars for concerts. But promoters say the stars are starting to price themselves out of the market.

Durban show promoter Sunny Gayadin, who heads Giant Concerts, says he is no longer prepared to pay enormous sums to Bollywood stars and singers.

Johannesburg-based promoter Sugen Nair says he wanted to bring Aishwarya Rai to South Africa, but dropped the idea after she sought $90,000 for a single appearance.

Abhijit Chowdhary, a director of Mumbai-based event management company I-Die, says stars like Amitabh Bachchan and Shahrukh Khan charge around $135,000 for an appearance, while Salman Khan and Hrithik Roshan ask for $67,000-$90,000.

Nisaar Pangakar, the owner of South Africa’s first Bollywood Web site, cinetalkies.com, says stars and their agents mistakenly believe South Africa is a wealthy market and thus demand higher prices, basing their fees on dollar rates paid to them in other countries.

Chowdary defends the fees.

“When the stars come to South Africa, it is only for one show. They must spend eight to 10 days rehearsing. It’s easy to see them for 20 minutes onstage, but for them to do that act they need to rehearse. They have to charge high fees because they are losing so much of their time.”

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