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BW Businessworld

Playing To The Gallery

Photo Credit :

Ekta Kapoor, joint MD of Balaji Telefilms, Jeetendra and Shobha Kapoor, chairman and MD, respectively, have been at the centrestage of the Indian television industry. When private television took off in India in the early 1990s, Balaji Telefilms was an early bird as a content producer with hits such as Hum Paanch. Ekta, the enigmatic workaholic director, now just 37, became a household name with her ‘K' brand soaps like Kyunkii Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki and Kasautii Zindagii Kay that kept Star Plus in the lead.

The Kapoors cemented their relationship with Star Plus further with Star India picking up a strategic 26 per cent stake in Balaji for Rs 123 crore in 2004. The deal involved  content production rights like predetermined rates for Balaji shows on Star Plus. Balaji used the cash flow to enter the lucrative TV content markets in Tamil and Telugu channels as well as film production.

Since 2001, the Kapoors have produced over a dozen movies. The film platform also helped launch Ekta's sibling, Tusshar, as an actor.

The company went through a bad patch in the 2007-09 period with many of its shows bombing, TV channels reneging on payments and Star India selling its stake for Rs 322 crore. That also signalled the end of Balaji's special status with Star Plus and the Kapoors took a knock with a serious decline in TV content business. 

The family has bounced back with new soaps like Pavitra Rishta (Zee TV) and Bade Ache Lagte Hain (Sony Entertainment Television) and a slew of movies in the pipeline. This has propelled the Kapoors into the list of new-entrant super rich with assets in excess of Rs 100 crore.

(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 30-07-2012)