rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Business » The half story-teller, half businessman

The half story-teller, half businessman

May 24, 2017 10:44 IST

Chetan Bhagat turns entrepreneur by getting into the movie business with Half Girlfriend.

Shraddha Kapoor and Arjun Kapoor’s latest release Half Girlfriend collected Rs 32.04 crore at the box office over the weekend.

While critics slammed the “half story and half acting”, trade analyst Taran Adarsh, who tweeted the collection figures, called it a “good weekend” for the movie, based on novelist Chetan Bhagat’s book of the same name.

Even if it is half the commercial success that was projected, Half Girlfriend is likely to bring first bucks from a new revenue stream for a happening start-up.

Title credits of Half Girlfriend begin with ‘Chetan Bhagat Entertainment Pvt Ltd presents...’ Bhagat himself is listed as a producer along with veterans Ekta Kapoor and Shobha Kapoor.

The company was floated by the novelist and wife Anusha Suryanarayanan in 2009, with a modest capital of Rs 1 lakh. Riding primarily on Bhagat’s brand equity and his creative abilities, the one-man show has now grown into an enterprise with a net worth of about Rs 8 crore. Its net profits ranged between Rs 1 crore and Rs 2.5 crore in the past few years.

Though the objects of the company include “to produce, project, exhibit, broadcast, distribute and transmit the Motion Picture in all languages theatrically and non-theatrically”, so far, 99 per cent of its revenues have come from television, talk shows and brand promotions.

In 2015-16, the company booked a profit of Rs 1.07 crore, less than half the previous year when it reported earnings worth Rs 2.5 crore. In 2015-16, its revenue from operations stood at Rs 1.35 crore against Rs 2.27 crore in 2014-15.

Of the Rs 1.35 crore, television and talk shows accounted for Rs 1.29 crore. With brand promotion earnings of Rs 1.94 crore, total operating revenue in 2014-15 stood at Rs 4.21 crore.

The bounce in net profit in 2014-15 probably came on the back of Chetan Bhagat Motivation Series. Bhagat would deliver speeches to audience as small as 25 to as big as 15,000. According to Bhagat’s website, the novelist has delivered around 300 talks in 75 cities.

Clients include top corporate names and institutions such as Airtel, Aricent, Armed Forces Medical College, Birla Sun Life, BOC, Bosch, Career Launcher, Citibank, Dainik Bhaskar, Dell, Deloitte, Deutsche Bank, Eveready, Fortinet, HCL, Hindustan Times, HSBC, Hyundai, IBM, ICICI, Johnson & Johnson, Kotak, Maruti, Nasscom, National Defence Academy, Nokia, Reliance, The Telegraph, Zoom and the US Embassy.

Bhagat’s career as a motivational speaker was his third-coming of sorts. An IIT-Delhi and IIM-Ahmedabad alumnus, Bhagat was working in the high streets of finance before shooting into the literary scene with his debut novel Five Point Someone, in 2004.

The book’s roaring success gave Bhagat a new career as a writer. Years after the global financial crisis, he quit his Deutsche Bank job. The corporate venture seems to have started soon after.

Blockbuster Business

Half Girlfriend collected Rs 32.04 crore at box office over the weekend. Movie adapted from Bhagat’s novel of same name is likely to bring first bucks for a start-up • Movie title credit begins with ‘Chetan Bhagat Entertainment Pvt Ltd presents…’
• Bhagat lists as producer along with Ekta Kapoor and Shobha Kapoor
• Chetan Bhagat Entertainment was floated by Bhagat and wife Anusha Suryanarayanan in 2009, with a capital of Rs 1 lakh; Net worth now stands at Rs 8 crore
• Net profits range between Rs 1 crore and Rs 2.5 crore in past few years
• 99% of revenues come from television, talk shows and brand promotions

An email sent to Bhagat’s spokesperson did not elicit any response. When called, the spokesperson said, “Chetan is not available now.”

‘I becoming a speaker happened accidentally. I was asked to give a speech at SymbiosisUniversity, Pune. I gave a speech called ‘Sparks’ and put up the text on my blog. Somehow, the speech connected with people, spread and became viral. It also gave me a new career as a speaker,’ Bhagat wrote in a covering letter for a brochure promoting his speeches.

Three years ago, Bhagat had declared he was turning producer after the success of movies such as 2 States, Three Idiots and Kai Po Che, which, too, were adapted from his books.

‘Four of his five novels have been made into successful Bollywood films,’ his website said, adding, ‘Others are in the process of being adapted as well.’

In 2012-13, Chetan Bhagat Entertainment reported a net profit worth Rs 1.32 crore, while the number stood at Rs 1.29 crore in 2013-14.

In these years, the company reported revenues of around Rs 1 lakh from the sale of merchandise. Over the years these profits have accumulated in the form of ‘reserves and surplus’ worth Rs 7.39 crore.

Image: Chetan Bhagat, right, with television mogul Ektaa Kapoor at the launch of his new book, Half Girlfriend.

N Sundaresha Subramanian
Source: