The talk about pay disparity in Bollywood extended to the world of television when India's favourite comedy show judge Archana Puran Singh brought it up subtly on an episode of The Kapil Sharma Show that aired on Saturday, April 6, 2019.
It seems Archana Puran Singh taunted Kapil Sharma and Salman Khan, the producer of the show, about being paid less than Navjot Singh Sidhu, the cricketer-politician whom she has replaced for some time after a controversy. This is how it happened.
John Abraham and Mouni Roy were the celebrity guests on The Kapil Sharma Show, who were there to promote their film, Romeo Akbar Walter. Mouni Roy, who is popular on the television show Naagin as a shapeshifter, is asked by Kapil Sharma who she would be if given a chance. To which, Mouni Roy replies that she would love to be Audrey Hepburn, the Hollywood actress and icon. When John Abraham is asked the same, he replies that he would want to be Kapil Sharma. Very flattering for Kapil but a rather diplomatic reply by John.
Next, Archana Puran Singh is asked the same by Kapil Sharma and she replies that she would want to be in Navjot Singh Sidhu's shoes. And why would someone feel that about their predecessor? Archana Puran Singh makes it clear that it's because she gets paid way less than Sidhu on The Kapil Sharma Show, not even half of what he gets! This is a direct comment for Bollywood superstar Salman Khan and the channel, we feel, on how she deserves to be paid as much as the cricketer.
There was a report in February that Navjot Singh Sidhu was being a whopping Rs 25 crore per season of The Kapil Sharma Show, while Archana Puran Singh was being a relatively (very) less Rs 2 crore per season! This is apparently because she charged the same amount for being on Comedy Circus and the stint on Kapil Sharma's new show was just a replacement.
Navjot Singh Sidhu was temporarily suspended from The Kapil Sharma Show following his pro-Pakistan comments after the Pulwama attack by Pakistan sponsored terrorist outfit Jaish-E-Mohammed on February 14 this year. He also made a comment on the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for using the "Army as a tool for fighting the election". Sidhu is now busy in the run-up to the Lok Sabha Elections 2019, having joined the Indian National Congress as its star campaigner. It will be a while before he returns to The Kapil Sharma Show.