Bollywood legends Sridevi and Anil Kapoor have agreed to help a New Delhi gallery market and launch an art fund later this year.
The MEC Gallery in Khan Market plans to include the pair on the board of the Marwah Fine Arts fund, which joins a slew of upcoming funds investing in India's fast-appreciating arts sector.
Besides serving on the board, Sridevi has indicated she might also invest and assemble the fund's art collection, according to gallery owner Atul Marwah.
"Sridevi is keen to invest provided the fundamentals are strong," said Marwah, adding that neither will be paid for their involvement. "Both are popular actors and they will give strength to our concept."
Despite efforts to reach them through Marwah, both actors were immediately unavailable for comment.
The MEC Gallery was founded 15 years ago as the Masters of Exemplary Creation. It showcases the works of newer, undiscovered artists — and Marwah said luminaries such as Sridevi are regular customers.
Art funds — estimated to be worth more than Rs 200 crores nationwide — have been growing in both popularity and size. Traditionally, investors pool their money to buy works, then sell them at a profit, and promptly use proceeds to re-invest. Art fund investors can generally recoup profits after a three-year period.
With growing interest in Indian art, most investors say they see quick returns. Sanjay Kumar, a promoter of the Yatra Fund, said one painting bought for Rs 46 lakh was resold for Rs 105 lakh. Its second fund worth Rs 75 crore is set to close at the end of this month. Last month, Crayon Capital exceeded its Rs 40-crore goal to launch its art fund, said Gaurav Karan, a banker turned art fund manager.
The Marwah art fund seeks to promote a mix of established and new artists, such as Manish Pushkale, Tapan Dash and Atin Basak.
Besides Sridevi being Marwah's customer, she also is a distant relative. The sister of Sridevi's husband, Boney Kapoor, is married to Marwah's brother, Sandeep Marwah who runs a film studio in Noida. And of course, Boney Kapoor's brother is Anil Kapoor himself.
The actors should have little problem shifting expertise from silver screen to canvas, Marwah said. "Both of them understand art better than bankers and investors because they are performing artistes themselves."