Forbes India has released its annual chronicle of the richest of the rich in India. The kind people who work there have released a shorter list for those of us not interested in the industrialists and pharmaceutical giants who made it on. The 2018 Forbes India Celebrity 100 is out. But how many of them work in the Tamil film fraternity?

Mozart of Madras

Occupying the top spot on the list among the Tamil film pillars, A R Rahman stands at number 11 on the list with a total earning of ₹66.75 Crore (RM 39 million) in the year 2018.


While we’d like to believe that Rajinikanth earned so much that the list couldn’t accommodate him, he comes in at number 15 with a total earning of ₹50 Crore (RM 29 million). The actor did two movies this year, double his usual number of yearly releases. Looks like it’s paid off, literally. Rajinikanth is officially the highest earning South Indian actor, according to this Forbes list.

Illaya Thalapathy

The brilliant minds that compiled this list apparently couldn’t find a picture for Illaya Thapalathy Vijay. Ranked 26 on this list, just after actress Kareena Kapoor, Vijay reportedly earned RM 17 million in 2018. He acted in ONE movie.


Vikram is ranked at number 29 on the list, he worked on Sketch and Saamy Square this year. The actor is reported to have earned RM 15 million.

Universal Cop

Under his own production company, 2D Entertainment, Surya released the hit agricultural film, Kadaikutty Singam. He also starred in the hilarious Thaana Serndha Kootam earlier this year, and is currently busy filming Selvaraghavan’s NGK. Surya is the 34th richest celebrity in India, with a total earning of RM 14 million in 2018.

Makkal Selvan

Earning exactly the same amount as Surya (to two decimal points) is Vijay Sethupathi. This guy is probably the hardest working Tamil actor on the list. He has released 4 films this year, and has another one about to be released in two weeks time. His 2018 films are Oru Nalla Naal Paathu Solren, Junga, Chekka Chivantha Vaanam and 96, as well as the soon to be released Seethakathi. This doesn’t include the two films which he has a special appearance in, Imaikka Nodigal and Traffic Ramasamy. Vijay Sethupathi raked in RM 14 million in 2018, and is ranked 35th on the Forbes list.

Thalaivar’s Mappilai

Through his production company, Wunderbar Films, Dhanush has released the two best Tamil films of the year, Kaala and Vada Chennai. They have also released two Malayalam films. In addition to that, Dhanush has starred in three movies, The Extraordinary Journey of a Fakir, Vada Chennai and the yet to be released Maari 2. The actor/director/producer/singer has made a total of RM 10 million this year from various projects, according to Forbes.


The wage gap couldn’t get more real. Not only is Nayanthara the ONLY South Indian actress to make the list, she stands at number 69. Nayanthara has starred in three movies this year, Telugu flick Jai Simha as well as Kolamavu Kokila and Imaikka Nodigal. She is also all set for Airaa and Viswasam to be released early next year. The actress made RM 8.9 million in 2018. Tell us again why the Tamil film fraternity doesn’t reek of male supremacy?

Ulaga Naayagan

Kamal Hassan comes in two rungs below Nayanthara at number 71. The actor is reported to have earned RM 8.3 million this year. We find this hard to believe, because not only did he host an entire season of Bigg Boss Tamil 2, Kamal Hassan also starred in Vishwaroopam II which was released under his own production company, Raaj Kamal Films International. Could this be why he wants to retire?

Interestingly, less than 10% of this list comprises of people who work predominantly in the Tamil film fraternity. The person who topped this list, Salman Khan, earned a whopping RM 148 million this year.

If you’d like to compare how our Tamil celebrities fared against our North Indian counterparts, check out the full list here.