Shahrukh Khan, India’s ruling matinee idol is the world’s second richest entertainer, according to Wealth-X, the world’s leading ultra-high net worth (UHNW) intelligence firm. Outpacing the likes of Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp, Tyler Perry and Tom Hanks, Khan is the only Indian actor in the top 10 list that includes both Bollywood and Hollywood actors. With a net worth of $600 million, the Bollywood star lags behind Jerry Seinfeld, who topped the list with $820 million to his name.
Khan, informally known as SRK and Badshah Khan (King Khan) of Bollywood, is immensely popular in India, within the Indian diaspora, and other audiences overseas. Having created a formidable presence on television and in cinema, Khan has successfully channeled his brand into multiple high-value endorsement deals. An influential producer, he co-owns Red Chillies Entertainment and the education-entertainment brand Kidzania Mumbai. Additionally, Khan has tapped into the cricket mania of India’s billion-plus population and owns an Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket team, the Kolkata Knight Riders.
The 48-year-old star has appeared in over 50 movies and was called “the world’s biggest movie star” by the Los Angeles Times in 2011. The intense actor has worked in a range of genres, from ubiquitous Bollywood romantic dramas, comedies, to superhero sci-fi movies.
In 2008, Newsweek named Khan as one of 50 most influential people in the world. In 2013, Forbes India named him Shahrukh Inc. and declared him India’s biggest and most powerful brand. Khan is associated with global companies such as Tag Heuer, Pepsi, Nokia and Compaq, among a host of others. With all these ventures in place, Khan has rocketed to the position of being the second richest entertainer in the world.
Along with his many profit-making ventures, Khan is also known for his philanthropy. While Khan keeps a relatively low profile in matters of personal charity, he has used his mass appeal to raise awareness about a number of issues by being the face of various Indian public service campaigns throughout the years, including efforts by Pulse Polio and AIDS control organizations. The superstar has lent his name and effort to a host of other charitable endeavors, from donating and raising funds for the 2004 tsunami victims, employment programs for disabled people, children’s education, to rural health initiatives.
Khan is on the board of Make-A-Wish Foundation in India. The father of three, including one daughter, Khan supports Cosmopolitan Magazine’s anti-domestic violence campaign and the 2013 Men Against Rape and Discrimination (MARD, meaning man in Hindi) initiative, which was launched by Farhan Akhtar, a Bollywood director and film actor.
Much feted and admired, the versatile star who has leveraged his popularity into a multi-million dollar brand, has also faced his share of controversies and criticisms. Despite Khan’s overarching crowd appeal, he has been bashed by several film critics for his over-the-top onscreen histrionics and limited acting abilities.
The dimpled star, who is considered a sex symbol and a style icon in India, has recently been in the news for allegedly tweeting that he would leave the country if Narendra Modi, the chief of a Hindu nationalist party, was elected prime minister of India. As the world’s largest democracy swept Modi and his party to power, Khan sent out an angry disclaimer on Twitter denying the rumors.
Whether he is performing in sold-out stage shows, producing blockbusters, or hosting fundraisers, Khan’s stature goes beyond being the second richest entertainer in the world. The versatile star known for delivering self-deprecating commentary on talk shows and a boyish charm, has become a global ambassador of his country, what the Discovery Channel calls “the restless spirit of post-liberalization, ambitious, assertive and yet feel-good India.”
By Monalisa Gangopadhyay