Shah Rukh Khan’s business manager turns co-producer for Chennai Express

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By Hindustan Times

While handling the careers of their charges, the managers of Bollywood stars naturally have to hobnob with other members of the film industry on a daily basis. And brushing shoulders with these icons comes with its own set of advantages.

In the latest instance, Shah Rukh Khan’s business manager, Karuna Badwal, has now stepped up and taken on the role of a co-producer on his upcoming film, Chennai Express. Although Karuna has worked with Shah Rukh for over seven years now, she has always stayed behind the scenes.

“Karuna has been part of SRK’s team for a long time. She helped build Kolkata Knight Riders (the actor’s Indian Premier League team) as a brand and also assisted Shah Rukh with the marketing of his films,” says an insider close to the actor.

Given her involvement with SRK’s other investments, it seems it was a natural decision for Shah Rukh to rope her in as part of the film’s crew.

This is not a new trend. In the past, Ajay Devgn’s former secretary, Kumar Mangat, turned producer and was behind half a dozen of Ajay’s films. Madhuri Dixit’s former manager, Rakesh Nath, too cast her in three of his productions. Sanjay Dutt’s business manager, Dharam Oberoi, is a co-producer and executive producer for several films like Plan (2004), Shootout At Lokhandwala (2007) and Rascals (2011).

Salman Khan’s then-secretary, Vikas Kapoor, also worked with the actor on his film Heroes (2008).

Says Vikas, “I always wanted to produce films, so when I got the script (of Heroes), I asked Salman if he would act in it. Since he liked the script, he agreed. I share a great relationship with him.”

However, he says that working closely with big stars doesn’t always make things easy. “At the end of the day, it is the script that
matters. Actors don’t sign films just for the sake of relationships,” says Kapoor.

Karuna Badwal
Has been with Shah Rukh Khan since Om Shanti Om in 2007.
Major projects: Kolkata Knight Riders, RA.One (2011, brand building and marketing).
We hear: Co-producing Chennai Express.

Kumar Mangat Pathak
Managed Ajay Devgn’s career successfully for over 15 years.
Major projects: Raju Chacha (2000), Omkara (2006), All The Best: Fun Begins (2009), Son of Sardaar (2012).
We hear: Producing Aatma and Special 26 (starring Akshay Kumar).

Vikas Kapoor
Worked with Salman Khan till he hired a new manager, Reshma Shetty.
Major projects: Heroes (2008).
We hear: Will announce a new production venture this year.

Dharam Oberoi
Early this year, Sanjay Dutt ousted Oberoi over some “professional differences.”
Major projects: Plan (2004), Shootout At Lokhandwala (2007), Rascals (2011).
We hear: Reportedly, he is working to launch his production company.

Riku Rakesh Nath
Worked as Madhuri Dixit’s manager for almost 30 years.
Major projects: Dil Tera Aashiq (1993), Mohabbat (1997), Gaja Gamini (2000).
We hear: Rumour mills suggest that Madhuri’s husband, Dr Sriram Nene advised his wife on getting a fresh start to her comeback. Does it include replacing her manager too? We wonder!

Morani returns with a bang
It’s a well-known fact that Cineyug Films Pvt Ltd’s director Karim Morani spent a few months in jail in connection with the 2G
spectrum case. After stepping out of jail, he was lying low. But now, as the poster of Chennai Express is released, we can’t help but spot his name as one of the producers of the film, along with Gauri Khan, Ronnie Screwvala and Siddharth Roy Kapoor. Earlier too, he featured as associate producer in the credits of SRK’s 2011 film, RA.One. Earlier, Khan had launched Morani’s daughter Zoa in his home production, Always Kabhi Kabhi (2011).

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