Top 10 Highest Paid Kannada Actors [2023 UPDATED]: Who is No:1?

Kannada cinema, or Sandalwood, has seen tremendous growth over the years. With this growth comes great recognition and financial success for those in the industry. In this article, we will be looking at the highest-paid Kannada actors of 2023. We will explore how they made their way to the top and their salaries today.

Highest Paid Kannada Actors 2023

In 2023, we can expect some of the biggest names in the Kannada film industry to continue dominating the top spots on this list. Actors like Yash have consistently delivered box-office hits over the years and are expected to remain highly-paid artists in their upcoming projects. Also, stars like Darshan Thoogudeepa and Sudeep Kiccha will likely make it to this list as they have proven themselves as versatile actors.

1.) Yash


According to reports, Naveen Kumar Gowda, also known as Rocking Star Yash, is the highest-paid actor in the Kannada film industry, commanding a fee between Rs 30 crore and Rs 85 crore per film, depending on the project. After starring in the 2018 film K.G.F. Chapter 1, he attained widespread recognition. The nature of the film determines Yash’s compensation, and he holds the distinction of having the most prominent Instagram following among Kannada actors. He is the wealthiest and most successful actor in the Kannada film industry at this time. His most recent film, K.G.F. Chapter 2, was released recently. Movie Verdict Year
1 K.G.F. Chapter 2 All Time Blockbuster 2022
2 K.G.F. Chapter 1 Blockbuster 2018
3 Santhu Straight Forward  Hit 2016
4 Masterpiece Super-Hit 2015
5 Mr. and Mrs. Ramachari Blockbuster 2014

2.) Darshan Thoogudeep

Darshan is among the highest-paid actors in the Kannada film industry, earning between 15 and 20 crore rupees per film. In addition to being one of the industry’s wealthiest actors, he is involved in film production and distribution. Darshan, one of the most prominent contemporary Kannada actors founded Thoogudeepa Productions in 2006. Its inaugural production was Jothe Jotheyali, which featured a special appearance by Darshan. Critics praised his performances in Anatharu (2007) and Kranti Veera Sangolli Rayanna (2012); his portrayal of the 19th-century warrior Sangolli Rayanna in the latter film earned him the Karnataka State Film Award for Best Actor.

Sl.No Movie Year Verdict
1 Robert 2021 Super Hit
2 Odeya 2019 Hit
3 Kurukshetra 2019 Hit
4 Yajamana 2019 Blockbuster
5 Tarak 2017 Super Hit

3.) Sudeep


Sudeep, a well-known actor, screenwriter, playback singer, director, and producer, primarily works in the Kannada film industry. In addition to appearing in Telugu, Tamil, and Hindi films, he is paid between 12 and 16 crore rupees per film. Additionally, he has amassed a substantial number of followers on Instagram. He is one of Kannada Cinema’s highest-paid actors and one of the first Kannada actors to be included on Forbes’ list of India’s top 100 celebrities since 2013. He has been honored with numerous accolades, including four Filmfare Awards South. Movie Verdict Year
1 Kabzaa 2023
2 Vikrant Rona Hit 2022
3 Kotigobba 3 Semi-Hit 2021
4 Dabangg 3 (Hindi) Semi-Hit 2019
5 Sye Raa Narsimah Reddy (Telugu) Hit 2019
6 Pailwan Hit 2019

Also Check: Top 10 Highest-Grossing Kannada Movies of All Time

4.) Shiva Rajkumar

Shiva Rajkumar (born Nagaraju Shiva Puttaswamy on 12 July 1962) is an Indian actor, film producer, and television host who works primarily in Kannada cinema. Shiva Rajkumar has a sizable fan base among Kannada audiences and commands a fee of Rs 6 crore per film fee. In a career spanning more than three decades, he has appeared in more than 125 Kannada films. He has been honored with numerous accolades, including four Karnataka State Film Awards, four Filmfare Awards South, and six South Indian International Movie Awards. Movie Year Verdict
1 Ayushman Bhava 2019 Hit
2 Drona 2020 Semi Hit
3 Bhajarangi 2 2021 Flop
4 Bairagee 2022 Flop
5 Vedha 2022 Hit

5.) Upendra


Upendra Upendra, also known as Real Star Upendra in the Kannada film industry, is a famous actor, director, producer, and screenwriter. He is among the highest-paid actors and directors in the Sandalwood industry, commanding between 5 and 6 crore rupees per film. Movie Year Verdict
1 Kabzaa 2023 Semi- Hit
2 Mukunda Murari 2016 Super Hit
3 Upendra Matte Baa 2017 Average
4 I Love You 2019 Hit
5 Home Minister 2022 Average

6.) Rakshit Shetty

Rakshit Shetty

Rakshit Shetty is a successful actor and producer in the Kannada film industry, earning between 4 and 5 crore rupees per film. He is well-known for his roles in Kirik Party and Ricky and has appeared in numerous other films. His movie, 777 Charlie, was a blockbuster hit in 2022. Movie Year Verdict
1 Ricky 2015 Below Average
2 Godhi Banna Sadharana Mykattu 2016 Blockbuster
3 kirk party 2016 All Time Blockbuster
4 Avane SrimanNarayana 2019 Hit
5 777 Charlie 2022 Blockbuster

7.)  Rishab Shetty 

Rishab Shetty 

Prashant Shetty, known professionally as Rishab Shetty, is an Indian actor and filmmaker who primarily works in Kannada cinema and gross earnings of Rs. 4 crores. The critically acclaimed and commercially successful film Kantara, which he directed and starred in, has made him famous. He has received numerous honors, including the National Film Award for Best Children’s Film for Sarkari at the 66th National Film Awards. Movie Verdict Year
1 Sarkari Hi. Pra. Shaale Blockbuster 2018
2 Hero N/A 2021
3 Garuda Gamana Vrishabha Vahana N/A 2021
4 Harikathe Alla Girikathe N/A 2022
5 Kantara Blockbuster 2022

8.) Nikhil Gowda

7.) Nikhil Gowda

Nikhil Gowda is an Indian actor and politician who has acted in Kannada and Telugu films. He is well-known for his roles in Jaguar, Kurukshetra, and Rider, for which he earns between Rs 2 crore and Rs 4 crore per film.

SL NO Movie  Year Verdict
1 Jaguar 2016 Flop
2 Seetharama Kalyana 2019 Hit
3 Kurukshetra 2019 Blockbuster
4 Rider 2021 Average

9.) Ganesh


Ganesh, an Indian actor and television host, is well-known for his contributions to Kannada cinema, including his role in Mungaru Male, one of the industry’s most notable successes. Per film, he receives a fee of Rs 2.8 crores. Movie Year Verdict
1 Gimmick 2019 Average
2 Geetha 2019 Hit
3 Sakath 2021 Hit
4 Gaalipata 2 2022 Super Hit
5 Triple Riding 2022 Hit

10.) Vijay Duniya

Vijay Duniya

Due to the success of his film ‘Duniya,’ Vijay, who began his career as a junior artist in the Sandalwood industry, is now known as Vijay Duniya. Per film, he commands a fee of approximately Rs 2.6 crores. Movie Year Verdict
1 Dana Kayonu 2016 Super Hit
2 Masti Gudi 2017 Super Hit
3 Kanaka 2018 Hit
4 Johnny Johnny Yes Papa 2018 Hit
5 Salaga 2021 Hit

Final Words

In conclusion, the Kannada film industry continues expanding and attracting more talent. The top four highest-paid actors of 2023 are  Yash, Sudeep,, Darshan, and Shivarajkumar, respectively. Each actor has had a successful career and has played an important role in the Kannada film industry. These actors are precious to their respective production houses due to their box-office success and fan following.

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