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Shah Rukh Khan: The star, the brand, the enigma We take a look at his achievement not only as the enigma he is as an actor but also as an entrepreneur who is investing in multiple sectors, endorsing many brands, and establishing himself as a brand of Indian cinema.

By Arundhuti Banerjee

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Actor Shah Rukh Khan

As the OG superstar of Bollywood Shah Rukh Khan has completed 32 years of his journey in the industry. We take a look at his achievement not only as the enigma he is as an actor but also as an entrepreneur who is investing in multiple sectors, endorsing many brands, and establishing himself as a brand of Indian cinema.

It is not that hard to get the first break in the Bollywood industry if you are hardworking enough, but maintaining success for more than three decades is. In an industry that is so competitive that fortune changes every Friday for every actor, Shah Rukh Khan is one actor who not only proved himself as an actor, a superstar, but also as an entrepreneur with a deep understanding of cinema and how investment in technical advancement like in VFX is important to match our cinema to its international standard.

Here we look at the journey of the Delhi boy.

The Fauji famed becomes Baazigar: When he started to act in television, he had no idea if one day he will become the star that he is today because the man went through a fair share of struggle, in his personal and professional journey simultaneously. After losing both his parents, he came to Mumbai and started working in television serials. Making his debut with the show Fauji in 1988, he came to prominence slowly and steadily. Even though his film Baazigar is considered the game changer for his career, released in 1993, Shah Rukh made various appearances as a supporting actor in seven films before that. However, after the super success of Baazigar, there was no looking back. A star born who changed the scenario of commercial Hindi cinema. With much-celebrated films like Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Kal Ho Naa Ho, KuchKuch Hota Hai, Dil To Pagal Hai, Mohabbatein, Veer-Zaara, Chak De! India, Kabhi KhushiKabhie Gham, among many others.

The brand, the storyteller, and the entrepreneur: When an actor becomes a superstar and gets love and appreciation from his fans not only across the nation but also on the diaspora, it's only natural for them to become a brand themselves. Shah was not an exception, though he is one of the rare superstars of his time with such strong business acumen. On one hand, he became the first choice of many brands in different sectors for endorsement, which includes Pepsi, Frooti, Big Basket, Reliance Jio, LG TV, Denver, ICICI Bank, and Fair & Handsome, to name a few. Overall, he has brand deals with around 40 brands.

On the other hand, with his passion for storytelling and creating more opportunities for different filmmakers, Shah Rukh started his production house, Red Chillies Entertainments Private Limited. The production house is not only delivering films of different budgets with successful commercial returns, but the Bollywood superstar also started a VFX studio under the production company. With the deep understanding and potential growth of the VFX industry, Shah started Red Chillis VFX in 2006. The studio is functioning as a visual effects studio, with the intention of enhancing the VFX work of Indian cinema. This is the subsidy company of RCE, and according to the report, the net worth of the company is around Rs 500 crore. The VFX team had been involved with many major movies like Chak De! India, Krrish 3, Don: The Chase Begins Again, Dostana, Fan, Zero, and Jawan, among many others.

Apart from filmmaking, Shah Rukh also invested 26 percent in the edutainment theme park franchise company KidZania.

Shah Rukh, who has always been a sports enthusiast, co-owned the cricket team Kolkata Knight Riders, an Indian Premier League team with a 55 percent stake.

Apart from these, the superstar also invested in start-ups, like a social media live streaming company named Meerkat in 2015, and in a health and wellness mobile app named NuMi.

The raise of the Phoenix: After delivering super hits one after another for 21 years in the business of Bollywood, Shah Rukh went through a rough patch in his career between 2015 and 2020. Of course, during the global pandemic, he did not make any films as a lead, but in 2022, he reunited with Yash Raj Films, and in 2023, he came back on the big screen with three films. He came back with one of the biggest hits of Indian cinema, Pathaan, that earned Rs 1050.3 croreand reestablished his stardom! Followed by that, his next release, Jawaan, earned Rs 1,150 croreat the box office. And that is how the king returned to the limelight. Even though a section of the media tried to criticise him during his tough time, the superstar took the best revenge with his success!

Currently, the superstar is gearing up for his next project, a directorial venture by Sujoy Ghosh, produced by Siddharth Anand, that will bring Shah Rukh and his daughter Suhana Khan together on the big screen for the first time. Reportedly, the film is slated to release in 2025.

Arundhuti Banerjee

Content Editor

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