What do popular TV actors Hiten Tejwani, Ronit Roy, Rakshanda Khan, Sanjeeda Sheikh, Pawan Shankar, Kushal Punjabi, Mishal Raheja, Vivan Bhatena, Achint Kaur, Arjun Bijlani have in common?
Well, apart from the fact that they are big stars, they are all business people in their own right, having set up enterprises on the side to ensure that they will always be flush with funds, even if their TV careers go kaput.
“A job in the television industry does not come with a guarantee,” says actor Hiten Tejwani who has been part of the industry for almost 10 years now. “Your show might be axed, your character may get killed or you might be replaced.”
Actors have often found themselves out of work overnight, so it has become imperative to have an alternate source of income. In many cases, this means a flourishing side business. The latest to turn entrepreneur is Karanvir Bohra of Saubhagyavati Bhav (SB) fame.
The actor has turned designer and launched a line of formal wear for men called Pegasus. “Actors can lose their jobs easily, so we need a back-up plan, an alternate business to fall back on,” he says. “I was always interested in designing — in fact, I styled my own look for my role in Kasauti Zindagi Kay with the hood, bling and loose pants, which was novel back in 2006.”
Similarly, Karanvir’s character Viraj in SB is also a product of his own styling. The actor adds, “Since I design my own suits for parties and events as well, I thought I may as well start a line of men’s wear.” However, it isn’t easy to have two careers. While Ronit Roy has been running his Ace Security and Protection company for years, Hiten recently gave up his partnership in the restaurant Barcode O53.
“It was getting tough to manage things. Any job, whether it’s your own or salaried, needs your personal attention,” says Hiten. But he isn’t disheartened. “I will work on something new soon,” he says. “A business is a safety net.”
It can also mean a certain satisfaction that a job may not provide. For instance, Vivan Bhatena is glad he started a fish, meat and poultry store called Superfresh with his mother, who has been associated with the poultry industry for 20 years. “I always wanted to own a shop and with my mother handling the business end of it, I can focus on my work,” says the actor.