New Delhi, Apr 15: Top Bollywood stars seem to have beaten the economic slowdown to post handsome growth in their advance tax payments.
Not only did the top ten earners pay 17.7% more by way of taxes than in the previous year, but the industry has thrown up a new 'Hero No 1'.
Akshay Kumar, who paid a whopping Rs 31 crore to the I-T department, narrowly pipped Shah Rukh Khan (Rs 30.99 crore) to the title of Bollywood's highest taxpayer of 2008-09.
The top ten Bollywood stars together paid Rs 107 crore as taxes while the same set had paid Rs 90.90 crore in 2007-08 when the economy was booming.
The other two Khans - Salman and Saif Ali - were at number three and four, having paid Rs 14 crore and Rs 8.6 crore respectively.
As far as taxes go, Bollywood's Jodi No 1 was Saif Ali and his girlfriend Kareena Kapoor. Kareena was placed at No 7 with a deposit of Rs 3.7 crore in the tax kitty. The duo clearly beat the Bachchans - Abhishek and Aishwarya - who stood at No 8 and No 6 respectively.
Surprisingly, yesteryear superstar Rajesh Khanna continues to be among Bollywood's big tax payers, coming in at No 5 after paying Rs 6.87 crore - ahead of the Big B (Rs 1.25 crore), who slipped to the 10th rank from No 7 last year.
Khanna had paid Rs 11.90 crore last year, the third highest after his son-in-law Akshay Kumar (No 2) and SRK (No 1). The details of Khanna's business operations were not available. While SRK had paid Rs 31.50 crore, Akshay trailed behind him with a deposit of Rs 12.50 crore.
At No 9 this year is singer-actor Himesh Reshammiya, who paid taxes to the tune of Rs 3 crore. Notable among those missing from the top 10 list is Salman Khan's current flame and industry favourite Katrina Kaif. Aishwarya Rai, on the other hand, has improved her ranking from No 9 last year to No 6.
Both Kareena's rise (No 10 last year) and Aishwarya's have been at the cost of theBig B and son Abhishek. Last year, Abhishek was placed at No 5.