There is an old adage in Bollywood which says, ‘Acting isn’t going to fill your tummy. Have an alternative always.’ It’s a statement that has become more and more relevant in today’s times. Actors and actresses are not just reliant on the money that they earn from their acting gigs and always prefer to keep a way out by means of investing in different ventures.
Actors in the 1940s-50s used to have immense popularity, but none of those actors got into investing their hard-earned money properly, which resulted in most of them going bankrupt in the later parts of their lives. However, learning from their mistakes, the next crop of actors became more monetarily responsible and started investing the money they used to make into production houses and other ventures related to the film industry. But even that turned out to be a risky investment for many, as many films with big names also started to see empty theatres in the 1970s-80s.
This led to actors starting to move their investments out of the film industry and investing in other ventures which had a higher chance of giving them proper returns. With actors having boarded the bandwagon, it was only a matter of time before actresses also started realising the same, and started following a similar path. In today’s times, almost all major actresses have investments in some or the other venture, and that is giving them big returns, which in turn, helps them to maintain their lavish lifestyle and outlandish exterior.
Gone are the times when Bollywood was ruled by heroes only. Actors were given things to fly whereas actresses only had a limited time for their journey before they retired. Today with the abundance of talented actresses that are there in the industry, it comes as no surprise that they can wear more than one cap. Some of the A-listers today are extremely successful entrepreneurs too.
Also, actresses have started having specific business managers who are not the ones managing their work, but are the ones who are specifically managing their money and guiding them to invest their money in different ventures. They’re the ones who’re suggesting these stars not to put all their monies into one venture and diversify their portfolio so that even if one venture fails, the other’s profits can help recover the losses.
Among the actresses of the current lot, Anushka Sharma has been one of the most successful entrepreneurs. In 2013, Anushka Sharma launched her very own production company called Clean Slate Filmz. The actress is the co-founder with her brother Karnesh Ssingh and has been extensively involved in every stage of the process be it picking a script or overlooking the end product. In 2017, the actress launched her very own clothing brand Nush. The brand targets females who are looking for comfortable yet contemporary options in their wardrobes. However, in the last year and a half, Anushka Sharma has taken a step back from the production house and started concentrating more on her acting career resulting in her bagging the lead role in the Jhulan Goswami biopic. Also, recently she co-invested in a plant-based meat brand along with her husband Virat Kohli. As the two are prod vegetarians, they’re putting their money where their mouths are, literally.
Deepika Padukone is another name which comes to mind when you’re talking about actresses who’ve done massively well in business. From having her website for her online closet where people can buy clothes from her collection to an online diary – it leaves little to the imagination that this diva can be a brilliant entrepreneur too. Deepika Padukone started her very own clothing label which is one of the top brands on Myntra. Her label All About You is a private fashion label that was launched by the diva. She also launched her second brand 82°E, which is a self-care brand, and it has been doing decently well in the market. She also runs her foundation – Live, Love, Laugh to support and normalise mental health. Other than that Deepika has been an active investor in a plethora of start-up enterprises such as Epigamia – a yoghurt brand, Purplle- a beauty products brand to name a few. She also has a production house called Ka Productions, which produced the film ‘Chhapaak’.
Priyanka Chopra Jonas is another celebrity who’s doing much better at diversifying her portfolio and managing varied sources of income through different ventures. It seems like this global superstar is soon going to run out of feathers to add to her glorious cap of success. Other than being a global superstar and also a singer, she has recently launched her hair care line called – Anomaly. Making it affordable for everyone, her haircare brand took off to a colourful start. She has had her production house – Purple Pebble Pictures for a long time now and has been a part of some beautiful stories. While she is currently away from films in India for quite a long time, she has been slowly and steadily making her brand even more popular across the globe.
Another name that comes to mind is that of Alia Bhatt. Be it her impeccable on-screen performances or her multiple talents as a singer, dancer, and so on – Alia is often called an overachiever and multi-talented. A few years back, she became one of the youngest entrepreneurs as she launched her conscious clothing line – Ed-a-Mamma. This sustainable clothing brand is said to have had some sort of a stealth launch on FirstCry – an e-commerce platform. This is Alia Bhatt’s first attempt at becoming an entrepreneur and making it a sustainable clothing brand for children seems extremely thoughtful. But what actually shocked everyone is how the actress turned this small venture into a mega success in a span of just 2-3 years and eventually ended up selling it entirely to Reliance at a huge markup.
Alia Bhatt’s contemporary, Shraddha Kapoor is another actress who’s making a huge mark when it comes to cashing in on her popularity by investing in different brands. Shraddha Kapoor is fast emerging as a savvy businesswoman. The young star has quite the business acumen and has equity in 4 big brands across various categories. Shraddha Kapoor has currently invested in the beauty and cosmetics brand, MyGlamm, with innovation for ease being at the heart of their products, the luxury furnishing brand BellaCasa, Shunya which brings the age-old goodness of Ayurveda into modern-day life via their FMCG products and the cruelty-free healthcare brand Power Gummies.
Among the newbies, Sara Ali Khan has become an equity partner in The Souled Store, a casual wear and pop-culture apparel brand, besides providing sweat equity to it. Being an ardent pop-culture lover, and a firm believer that originality and comfort are as important as fashion, she feels that she sees the brand as a perfect fit to invest in.
Another name who’s recently joined this bandwagon is Kriti Sanon. She turned producer earlier this year and soon afterwards also ventured into her own premium skincare brand Hyphen. What’s new in Kriti Sanon’s approach is that she is aiming to make Hyphen have not just realistic skincare solutions but she’s also trying to provide that at a very affordable price that even a Tier 2 or Tier 3 city girl would be able to afford every month.
So, what is it that’s pushing all these actresses to turn to investing in some or the other venture? Well, one of the prime reasons for the same is us, the people of the country. The changing attitude of the common people towards actresses is something that has been evident in the past decade or so. Actresses are no longer just the fancy good-looking girl-next-door trying to provide some romantic angle to the lead hero’s storyline in films. The actresses are taking up characters that have much more to do than just be a showpiece in the film’s screenplay. Scripts are being written keeping a female lead in mind, and those films are being lapped onto by audiences, which in turn is helping these actresses attain more stardom and thereby get bigger cheques. Films like ‘Mimi’ or ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’ or ‘Chhapaak’ or ‘Tu Jhoothi Main Makkar’ or even the global series ‘Citadel’, all have strong female characters, and audiences love them. The more the audiences want to see a female-led storyline or films which have a strong part for an actress, the more the confidence of the actresses grows in their brand, and they’re able to try and experiment more not just with their acting roles but even with the business ventures that they decide to put their money in.
Another factor is the immense growth of social media. Celebs can be giving back-to-back five flop films but they can continue to be hugely popular on social media. Even though one accentuates the other, the two are not co-dependent. This helps in driving the business. People follow these stars on social media religiously, and when they share a product that they’re using for their own selves, it gets picked up more by audiences. All the healthy dietary videos or skincare routine videos get immense viewership. When previously on a TV commercial a celeb used to sell a product, people always knew that they don’t use it in their personal lives. But now, with such videos on social media, audiences can see that their favourite celebs are actually using the product that they’re selling. Which gives the audiences a natural push towards buying it. The vote of confidence in those products is more than what you get when you market them in TV commercials. Celebs like Deepika Padukone are seen promoting their brand quite often on their social media pages, and she has done videos with the likes of Shah Rukh Khan trying to show a skincare routine. Such videos build the trust of audiences in these products and that eventually is helping drive the sales.
However, there is one argument that comes on quite a lot, female stars are usually seen investing in skincare and clothing brands. The simple explanation for the same is the target audience that they’re trying to capture. While their videos are getting seen by the rich and posh of the Juhu and Bandra, but they are also being seen by a girl sitting in a suburban house in Bokaro or in a railway flat in Guntur. So, these girls from smaller cities and villages might not have access to television in their homes yet, but they all have a smartphone in their hands and have an unlimited data pack to use. They’re spending a chunk of their day’s free time scouring the internet. So, wanting to look like Katrina Kaif or Kareena Kapoor isn’t too far out of reach now. You can check all the tutorials and use products which are genuinely being used by these stars, and get them all delivered to your doorstep at an affordable price. Not just that, even the pretty pantsuit hat Sonakshi Sinha wore or that lehenga that Parineeti Chopra wore at her wedding, everything is available online. You can check and get it customised to your size and then get it free delivered to your doorstep with an option of having it returned in 7-10 days if you don’t like it. What can be better than that?
While it’s true that people are buying furniture and steel bars for building houses much more than they’re buying clothes or cosmetics, but they’re not buying it on the internet. The products that sell the highest on the internet are the ones that the actresses are targeting more, and they’re selling like hotcakes.
While many of these actresses are putting their own money from their acting gigs into their business ventures there are many who’re even raising money from different avenues. Being popular opens a lot of doors that are usually closed for the common businesswoman. These actresses have connections with the biggest names in the business world and getting that meeting becomes easier for them. Why do you think no actor or actress ever misses to be a part of the Ambani parties? Well, you get to network with other people in business at such parties and the rest you let your product speak for itself.
All said and done, an actor or an actress’ charm can make a product get a good launch, but whether or not that becomes a product that you use daily depends on the quality of the product. From what is evident on the outside, these actresses are putting in time and effort to make sure that they have a kickass product, something that they themselves would be willing to use before they head out to sell to the world.