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Five Indian film producers are exploring business beyond cinema Very recently, the Ahmedabad-based ice cream brand Hocco raised funds, and among many, they have two angel investors from Bollywood: Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani. From Karan Johar to Alia Bhatt, Rana Daggubati to Ronnie Screwvala, there are film producers who are expanding their horizons as business visionaries by investing in different sectors. Here we take a look at some of such personalities.

By Arundhuti Banerjee

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Inhouse

Recently, Ahmedabad-based ice cream brand Hocco raised Rs 100 crore ($12 million) in a funding round led by its promoter group, the Chona family, and existing investor Sauce VC. This investment, which valued the company at Rs 600 crore post-funding, also attracted participation from angel investors, including Bollywood film producers and founders of Excel Entertainment, Ritesh Sidhwani and Farhan Akhtar. As the duo is gearing up for their next outing with the web series Mirzapur: Season 3, all set to release on Amazon Prime Video on July 5, here we quickly take a look at some of the much-celebrated Indian film producers who are frequently investing in different sectors apart from entertainment.

Karan Johar: Karan Johar is undoubtedly one of the most prominent filmmakers in our country, and he is perhaps the only filmmaker to own the tag fashionista quite rightfully. The owner of the country's top film production house, Dharma Production, which he inherited from his father, Yash Johar, Karan's public image and films both became integral part of our pop culture. After delivering some of the crowd's favourites—Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Kabhi Khushi KabhieGhum—to Student of the Year, Rocky Aur Rani Kii Pren Khahaani, to name a few, now he is gearing up for his next production, Kill, releasing on July 5.

While his body of work as a filmmaker is highly celebrated, one must not forget that he is also a smart entrepreneur. His investment is quite in sync with his overall personality and public image. We know how he is the best celeb to teach us how to pout in a selfie, so it is not surprising that he has collaborated with the cosmetic and beauty brand MyGlamm Pout, especially to create a lipstick collection. He also launched his own brand, TyaaniJewellery, in 2021, which specialises in handcrafted polka jewelry with contemporary designs in 22-carat gold. Apart from this, he has invested in a Mumbai-based restaurant named Neuma, located in the plush area of Colaba, South Mumbai. It is one of the favourite restaurants of many Bollywood celebrities.

Gauri Khan: She could have just been the queen Khan of Bollywood and celebrated the success of Bollywood badshah Shah Rukh Khan. But Gauri Khan established herself not only as a film producer but also as an artist and entrepreneur. She produced various commercial potboilers under the production house Red Chillies Entertainment including superhit films are Main Hoon Na, Om Shanti Om, My Name Is Khan, Chennai Express, and recently Jawan to name a few. Gauri is also known for being one of the most prominent interior designers in our country. She collaborated with international artists like Roberto Cavalli and Ralph Lauren for home accessories.

Apart from her creative project, she launched her concept store, The Design Cell, and a design studio, Gauri Khan Designs. Both are located in Mumbai.

Gauri recently launched her pan-Asian restaurant in Bandra, named Torii, which is serving mouthwatering sashimi platters, ramen bowls, lamb chops, Yakiniku lobster, and more. The place is gaining momentum not only because of its food but also because of the beautifully designed interior by Gauri that takes guests away from the hustle and bustle of daily life into a relaxing, peaceful environment. Clearly, she is a lady of many interests!

Ronnie Screwvala: One of the prominent names in the world of Bollywood producers, Ronnie Screwvala is an inspiration and mentor for many successful entrepreneurs in India. Apart from filmmaking, he ventured into multiple businesses in the education and technology sectors as well. He started his own production house, UTV, in 1990, which he turned into a media conglomerate, including UTV Motion Pictures. After the merging of the company to Walt Disney, he stepped down as Disney India head.

Then in 2017, he started his own film production company, RSVP Movies.

He produced some award-winning films, including Rang De Basanti, Jodhaa Akbar, Barfi!, Uri: The Surgical Strike, Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota, and Sam Bahadur, among others.

In 2015, he invested in the edu-tech company UpGrad. He also collaborated with Supratik Sen and launched the company U-Sports for the promotion of Kabaddi, football, e-games, and more. Ronnie appeared as one of the judges in Shark Tank India—Season 3 this year.

Rana Daggubati: The Baahubali-famed Telugu actor Rana Daggubati has always had an interest in film production, VFX, and animation. So alongside his passion for storytelling under his film production company, Rana has invested in a VFX company, Spirit Media, even before becoming a successful actor. Then in 2018, he joined hands with Kwan Entertainment and Marketing Solutions. The company started with talent management, casting, live shows, and marketing, and it is running successfully. He is also an active investor in multiple startup businesses. Rana joined hand with the investment platform Anthill Ventures to launch Anthill Studios that helps to scale up start-ups. In 2019 he become one of the directors of comic publisher Amar Chitra Katha.

He was one of the early investors in a coffee brand, VS Mani and Co., that got wide recognition at Shark Tank India. He also has an investment in a game development studio called Gamezop.

The multi-talented personality is a proud co-owner of the football team Hyderabad FC.

Rana will next be seen in the Tamil film titled Vettaiyan, which is also starring two of the superstars of Indian cinema, Amitabh Bachchan and Rajnikanth. The film is slated to release theatrically on October 10.

Alia Bhatt: She is the youngest on the list to achieve everything! Being the superstar of Bollywood, Alia Bhatt has always lent her voice to everything that she believed in, and her multiple entrepreneurial ventures are a reflection of the same. In a career span of 12 years, she achieved superstardom with super hit films like Student of the Year, Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania, Raazi, and GangubaiKathiawadi, among many others. Recently, she started her production house named Eternal Sunshine Productions, which has already produced two films, Darlings and Poachers, released on Netflix and Amazon Prime Videos, respectively. But she did not limit herself to acting and film production, as she started her conscious clothing brand, Ed-a-Mama, which makes sustainable clothing for children. Alia is also an investor in the beauty company Nykaa and the startup Phool.co, which makes products from waste temple flowers.

Alia will next be seen in the upcoming film titled Jigra, which she is acting in and co-producing under her banner with Dharma Production, slated to release in cinemas on October 11.

Arundhuti Banerjee

Content Editor

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