Shah Rukh Khan (r) with vice chairman and managing director of Bharti Enterprises, Rajan Mittal, during the Global Business Summit in New Delhi, Feb. 23. (Money Sharma/AFP/Getty Images)
He is one of the most bankable actors of Indian film industry and heads a big production company, but for Shah Rukh Khan, money does not matter as he believes his financial growth is of no use if he cannot contribute to the movie business, which made him a superstar.
The actor, who does not shy away from being called a clever businessman, said the money he made in the initial days of his career was enough to make him happy and now whatever he earns he aspires to invest that in the development of Indian cinema.
“Money means nothing to me and I have no compulsions in saying that. I may joke about it or talk about money. But it means nothing to me. I come from humble beginnings and I am not romanticizing about my Delhi days. I am from a lower middle-class house. For me earning a lakh was I have become ‘lakhpati.’ And I had thought when I went to Mumbai… that I will retire after becoming a ‘lakhpati.’ So, I can retire like tomorrow.
“Money means nothing to me unless it is able to create some kind of a change in people’s life through the work I put my money in. I invest money in the business of cinema so that may be other children like me get the opportunity to make it big,” Shah Rukh said.
The 52-year-old actor was speaking at the Economic Times Global Business Summit in New Delhi.
Shah Rukh said he is a big believer of ‘Make in India’ campaign and as a businessman he wants to make the Indian film industry as advanced as Hollywood in terms of technology and facilities.
The actor added that one should “only do the business which is close to your heart and not close to your head. It should be something you feel for. I love sports and I got opportunity to be a part of it through cricket. I love cinema and I am doing it as an actor-producer. I love kids and I would love to work with theme parks. My business endeavors are completely related to my heart.”
The actor was addressing a session on ‘Bollywood’s Digital push: What it means for the stake holders,‘ and according to him, the significant change that the influx of digital medium will bring is that smaller films will now have a platform for release.
“The main thing which is going to change with the digital space being popular is that the medium or the small films will find a place to showcase. I don’t take it as threat to cinema.
Community viewing will never go out of fashion. People would love to watch things together on a big screen,” he added.
Shah Rukh believes the digital space will also give India some big stars, but is doubtful about the longevity of their stardom.
“I believe there will be stars bigger than me. They might not come from cinema, but the digital space of cinema. When I see my kids watching these vines, they have their own stars.
There will be digital stars and much bigger than what I am, but I truly believe that longevity is going to reduce,” he said.
The actor, whose production house Red Chilies Entertainment is working with streaming giant Netflix on an original series based on the book “Bard of Blood,” said he is more than willing to join the medium as an actor.
“A platform is not important for a true-blue actor, which I think I am. We just need a stage. Someone like me has risen from there. I have done drama, theatre, television and cinema.
So, if there is a new platform I would surely like to work in it. Platforms like Netflix are also going to make our actors popular internationally as they have a big viewership,” he said.