Rakesh Jhunjhunwala: From English Vinglish to Ki & Ka, the Big Bull of Dalal Street’s Bollywood connection


Veteran stock market investor and popularly called as the ‘Big Bull of Dalal Street’, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala passed away at 62 years yesterday morning, also had a strong connection with the film industry. In 1999, Jhunjhunwala launched the online promotion agency, Hungama Digital Media which later was renamed as Hungama Digital Media Entertainment and also launched a gaming portal and music app. The Mumbai-based company has since then become a major player as a publisher and distributor of Indian films.

The company has only grown manifold since its inception by Jhunjhunwala and now operates platforms including music streaming app Hungama Music, video streaming platform Hungama Play, Hungama ArtistAloud and Hungama Games. It also serves as digital content partners for Bollywood, Hollywood, regional Indian films and television series. Two years back it expanded its horizons to international shores and ventured into Switzerland, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Batelco, and Nepal through telco partnerships.

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Jhunjhunwala did not limit himself only to trading and investing in companies but turned producer by producing a few hit Hindi films as well. He turned producer by backing the 2012 Hindi film English Vinglish that starred Sridevi and was directed by Gauri Shinde. The film was madewith a budget of Rs 20 crore but managed to churn out a profit for Jhunjhunwala and grossed Rs 84 crore worldwide.

After English Vinglish, Jhunjhunwala also produced two more films, Shamitabh and Ki & Ka. Shamitabh starred Amitabh Bachchan, Dhanush and Akshara Haasan. The film got a decent response from the audience and the critics and collected Rs 22.6 crores at the box office.

On the other hand, Ki & Ka starred Kareena Kapoor Khan and Arjun Kapoor in the lead and received mixed reviews. However, it became a commercial success and grossed over Rs 100.33 crores worldwide. The film depicted a role reversal with the hero becoming a househusband while the heroine was the breadwinner of the family.

Jhunjhunwala was born on July 5, 1960 in a Rajasthani family but grew up in Bombay where his father worked as a commissioner of Income Tax. He graduated from Sydenham College and thereafter enrolled at the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. Jhunjhunwala’s net worth today is estimated at Rs 43.39 thousand crores.

On his death, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and several other political leaders expressed their grief.