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Shah Rukh Khan is a million different people from one day to the next. He is a seasoned actor, mercurial brand endorser, committed entrepreneur, sports enthusiast and avid content consumer and provider. He holds people up, to the same exacting standards, as he asks of himself. Khan may soon start a football league and is looking to invest in the restoration of cinema.
He’s also invested in a spanking new digital department at Red Chillies and will do a lot more in the area of visual effects. In a conversation with Fe BrandWagon’s Anindita Sarkar, Khan explains that he is not picky about brands when it comes to endorsements and he will never trade endorsement fees for equity. Media assets don’t interest him at all since newspapers will be out of circulation soon and television is too expensive to be invested in. (Edited excerpts)
You joined Bollywood in the early ‘90s. What has changed for the film industry since then?
For films, there is a huge organisational and structural change that has come in. Earlier, our films used to take one and a half years to complete and it was largely disorganised. The industry then depended greatly on the distributors and relationships with them. There were all these people who would be making films regularly but one day they got it wrong and their production houses would be sold off. Now, corporatisation has finally come in and with it—at least a part of the business has become justifiable. Whether this change has come about because of Sony, Reliance, Viacom, UTV or Eros—it surely is a welcome change. They are the ones who are putting multiple eggs in different baskets. The array includes commercial films, off-beat films, small films, big films. Consequently, we don’t have to do it all as a production house. We can be as creative as we wish to be. Distribution is a lot more organised today - especially overseas distribution. You get feedback instantly. Each ticket bought is told to you in every one minute. The business is becoming more transparent. We have moved on from the time when distributors asked you to insert a cabaret dance in the film to an era when they just love the film for what it is. The middle man - the guy who used to be the go-between for the exhibitor - has been removed in many cases by the corporate entities.