Arjun Rampal is joining the bandwagon of celebrity restaurateurs. The actor is all set to open a restaurant in Delhi called Lap, in partnership with AD Singh, of Olive Bar & Kitchen. Celebs like Suniel Shetty, Sachin Tendulkar, Bobby Deol and Sourav Ganguly are others who have trod the path before him.
The celebrity to pioneer this trend was the dancing sensation of the 80s, Mithun Chakraborty. Thoughts of what would follow once the ‘lights, camera, action’ days were over made him “venture into the hotel business”.
However, it was only at the beginning of this decade that the trend caught on. Action hero Suniel Shetty, today runs a string of successful restaurants — Broadway, Mischief, Thai Me Up, Suzie Wong and Jai Ganesh. “I wanted my restaurants to have a five-star ambience — bright and spacious,” says Suniel, who has personally worked on all aspects of his restaurants.
Bobby Deol followed suit with a restaurant in Mumbai called Some Place Else, which serves Indian and Chinese cuisine.
Cricket’s megastars got into the business, too. Master blaster Sachin Tendulkar started a multi-cuisine restaurant, Tendulkar’s, in South Mumbai. Sachin says, “I enjoy food. So it made sense for me.”
Bengal tiger Sourav Ganguly, who owns Sourav’s — The Food Pavilion at Park Street, Kolkata, has ensured that his cricketing persona is reflected in his multi-cuisine eatery.
Pune has cricketer Zaheer Khan’s 8,000 sq. feet hospitality complex spanning three levels. “I have picked up décor elements I liked from places that I have visited,” says the cricketer.
The NCR may also get a coating of stardust as actor Sanjay Dutt has reportedly shown an interest in running a disco in Gurgaon inside Ambience mall.
Though it sounds like an all-male domain so far, celebrity hospitality is soon likely to get the feminine touch. Bipasha Basu speaks of her dream: “Starting a food joint is one of my dreams, as I cannot remain an actress all my life.” She’s “trying to get an alternative business model ready” right now.
Sushmita Sen launched her company, Sensazione, in 2006 with plans to enter the hotel and health spa industry in Kolkata. “After films, what? I thought why not start something now. One needs to find alternative earning options for a better future life ,” says Sushmita. Beauty with brains, for sure.