The Rags-to-Riches Journey of India’s Richest Actor


It was as late as 1993 that an Indian actor first charged Rs 1 crore for a single film. Just three decades on, this figure is now charged for cameos and not even by A-listers. Today, the biggest Indian stars charge over Rs 100 crore per film, making even more through profit sharing. This has allowed many top stars to amass wealth over Rs 1000 crore. The richest Indian actor ever is worth Rs 6300 crore, which is not surprising. But what is endearing is his rags-to-riches journey, which started from footpaths and ended in a sea-front bungalow.

Shah Rukh Khan is arguably the most successful Bollywood star in the last 30 years. Along with other superstars like Salman Khan, Aamir Khan, and Akshay Kumar, he has dominated the box office for three decades. This has helped him become one of the richest actors in the world and the richest in India. According to Bloomberg, his net worth stands at over $760 million (Rs 6300 crore). In comparison, the other two Khans – Salman and Aamir – have net worths of Rs 3000 crore and Rs 1500 crore, respectively. Amitabh Bachchan is worth nearly Rs 3300 crore, as per reports. The richest actor from South India is Nagarjuna, with a reported net worth of Rs 3100 crore.

Early Life and Struggles

Shah Rukh was born into an upper-middle-class household and, by all accounts, had a decent upbringing. His mother was a public servant who sent him to one of Delhi’s top schools, followed by Delhi University and Jamia Millia Islamia, from where he eventually dropped out. Shah Rukh’s struggle began after this as he started his career as a TV actor before venturing into films. In an oft-told story, during his first visit to Mumbai, the star slept on pavements and stayed at the railway station as he had no money to go anywhere else. Barely a few years later, he was able to purchase his now-iconic home – Mannat on Bandra’s Bandstand, a heritage bungalow valued in hundreds of crores.

Career Lull and Resounding Comeback

Until the mid-2010s, Shah Rukh Khan was the reigning king of Bollywood. He had delivered some of the biggest hits in Hindi cinema history and continued to do so until 2013-14 with films like “Chennai Express” and “Happy New Year.” However, the latter was to be his last clean hit for about nine years. In the four years after that, Shah Rukh appeared in a number of underperformers, from “Fan” and “Raees” to “Jab Harry Met Sejal” and “Zero.” In 2018, he took a break from acting, which was lengthened by the COVID-19 pandemic. This meant that by 2023, he had been away from films for five years and had no hit for nine. But Shah Rukh made a resounding comeback with three hits in the year, two of which (“Pathaan” and “Jawan”) grossed over Rs 1000 crore. His last release, “Dunki,” also grossed Rs 470 crore. The actor is reportedly working on a film titled “King” now, which stars his daughter Suhana Khan alongside him.

Shah Rukh Khan’s journey from sleeping on footpaths to owning a sea-front bungalow and amassing a net worth of Rs 6300 crore is a testament to his resilience, hard work, and unyielding spirit. His story continues to inspire millions around the world.

India Time Lines 


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