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Shah Rukh's world sells music too
SRK World, Shah Rukh's new corporation, dreams of making a success of mega entertainment, a business Amitabh Bachchan's corporation tried and thoroughly messed up
SRKWorld is online. It is Shah Rukh Khan's new site, and to enter it you will have to turn into a "stark" holder. A stark is to SRK World members what a dollar is to Americans, and a rupee is to Indians. Or what a stock is to an investor. It is virtual money in Shah Rukh domain, and it can fetch you rewards.
After Amitabh Bachchan's mega business fiasco with Amitabh Bachchan Corporation Limited (ABCL), not many Hindi film stars had donned a corporate role. The mood eems to have changed now. Besides Shah Rukh, Ajay Devgan and Aamir Khan have set up their own companies.
SRKWorld.com was launched on November 14. It has a section for music, but it's not functional yet. Tips and Venus, audio majors who dominate the film music market, are working on digitising their catalogue so that browsers can order cassettes and CDs and buy downloads. The site plans to offer samples of forthcoming albums so that browsers can hear part of a track or album before they order it.
The enthusiasm and frankness of Shah Rukh, the biggest box office draw in Mumbai in recent years, have won him many supporters within the industry. Actress and friend Juhi Chawla is part of the SRK World show, and her brother Bobby looks after the business aspects of the TV wing. Producer Bharat Shah helps Shah Rukh Khan in his business strategies.
But SRK World is trying to create a giant corporation that, as things stand, offers no room for anything outside the glitzy Mumbai world. That means there could be no classical music, no regional music. The user registration form gives you only two choices of movies -- Hindi and English! You aren't cool enough if you watch movies in other languages.
Like in the game Monopoly, lots of things on the site are measured in virtual money, even though Shah Rukh says he does not believe in investing in shares. "I have to work for the money that I earn. Money that I have wrestled for, boxed for, fought for, worked my butt off for -- I like that sort of money," he told Outlook newsmagazine, which did a cover story on his recent efforts.
The actor says he doesn't want his company to solicit public investment because, as he puts it, "What do I do with 200 crore?"
Shah Rukh has already launched TV and film production divisions, and wants to build studios, a multiplex and a five-star hotel. His banner, Dreamz Unlimited, produced Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani, a film that didn't set the box office ringing wildly. Arclightz is his production equipment company. In all this he has the support of director Aziz Mirza.
SRKWorld.com is tying up with companies that will webcast star nites and such other entertainment events. Merchandise such as Shah Rukh and Juhi T-shirts and film memorabilia will be sold online, and the site will also host the home pages of Mumbai's big actors and directors. Shah Rukh's site is already online, and features, besides his childhood and family pictures, a touchingly frank account of his father.
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