Lights, Camera, Business!

When we think of Deepika Padukone, her films may come to mind first. However, do we really bother about her equally impressive investments in startups? She has an exclusive portfolio of successful ventures, such as Epigamia, Furlenco, Blu Smart, Bellatrix, Atomberg Technologies, Front Row, Mokobara, Supertails, Nua and others. Alia Bhatt leaves a remarkable footprint on Bollywood and is now ready to knock on the door of Hollywood, but did we know about her sustainable clothing brand, Ed-a-Mamma, D2C business model? Anushka Sharma begins entrepreneurship with Nush, a fashion label brand. The transition from actress to successful entrepreneur fails to capture the limelight in India, and B-town gossip attracts more attention. 

India has been a home of 113 unicorns with a combined valuation of more than $350 Bn; some leading brands, Mamaearth, Cars 24, Nykaa and Good Glamm Group, are backed by bollywood actors investments. Not only that, Bollywood divas are inclined towards expanding their investment portfolio. They pick brands with valuable initiatives like Dia Mirza, which also backs up a sustainable baby clothing brand; Greendigo and Kajal Aggarwal invested in a D2C brand, ayurvedic brand, T.A.C – The Ayurveda Co. Also, Rashmika Mandanna invested in the D2C vegan brand Plum, selling beauty products. Shilpa  Shetty joins hands with MamaEarth, which deals with natural beauty and personal care products. 

If we move to veteran actresses like Preity Zinta, she dominates the world of the Indian Premier League as a co-owner of Punjab Kings (PBKS). In a couple of interviews, she shared that acting was merely a coincidence in her life journey; business was always on my mind. Actresses with dynamic personalities often turn heads for natural progression in their acting career; a few start their production house for their portfolio expansion, while others look at the broader side to invest in progressive startups. Twinkle Khanna, who was fated to be a Bollywood actress, is the daughter of legendary Dimple Kapadia and Rajesh Khanna. However, her entrepreneurship interest made her a successful interior designer, producer, and writer. Twinkle co-owns ‘The White Window, a candle and interior business that made it to Elle Décor International Design Award.

Queens of Silver Screen made strategic moves and shortlisted startups and brands that fit their personal branding. We can take the example of Katrina Kaif, who boldly launched Kay Beauty with Nykaa. Her inclusive marketing and cruelty-free formulations made Kay Beauty a popular brand. Women entrepreneurs in India staged classic examples of managing business with their active negotiation, problem-solving, and decision-making skills. Undoubtedly, it would be an easy game for actresses to juggle with their entrepreneurial commitment, personal life and acting career. 

Lara Dutta shares her view on the struggle with Hindustan Times “Five years ago, I thought that ‘okay, now, with the way the film industry functions, I would now have the time and would be able to go into it. But little did I know that the OTT advent was happening simultaneously, and that I was going to be busier than I have given the last decade. Now, it has become a tremendous sort of challenge for me to balance out entrepreneurship, to balance out a very active acting career while balancing out my family life.”

While partnering with successful female actresses can be a win-win strategy for emerging startups, it also offers an excellent opportunity for startups to attract industry attention, including from venture capitalists and major corporations seeking new investment opportunities. Public relations and marketing teams often focus on high-profile actresses to boost their business growth and expand their influence. This trend encompasses established actresses and newcomers like Sara Ali Khan and Shraddha Kapoor, who are increasingly moving into entrepreneurship to diversify their investments; for instance, Kriti Sanon recently launched her fitness startup, “The Tribe.” With their strong social media presence and it quite easy to target younger audiences, these actresses bring significant visibility to brands, helping both parties increase their reach and impact in the market.

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