Iconic Dalal Street investors Rakesh Jhunjhunwala and Radhakishan Damani, known for their stock picks, have forged an unusual partnership to make Bollywood flicks. They have floated Gutz Feel Film Production, a limited liability partnership, for their venture in the tinsel town.
Among the movies the duo has funded are Sri Devi-starrer Ki & Ka, in which Kareena Kapoor and Arjun Kapoor played the lead roles.
Directed by Gauri Shinde and her husband R Balki, respectively, both the movies had strong female characters and performed decently at the box office. Adman-turned-director Balki is also a partner in Gutz Feel.
English Vinglish, which marked the return of 1980s superstar Sri Devi to the big screen after two decades, grossed over Rs 75 crore, according to reports. The movie was dubbed in other languages and did well in the US and Japan, according to a September 2014 India Today report.
Ki & Ka mentioned both Jhunjhunwala and Damani as producers, among others.
The Mumbai-based entity, started with initial partner contribution of Rs 4 lakh, operated largely on borrowed funds. It reported unsecured loans of Rs 17 crore in the first year of operations.
After reporting losses in the initial few years, the venture has turned profitable, filings by the LLP with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs showed.
Unlike companies, which are required to filed detailed balance sheets and directors' reports, LLPs are required to file a 'statement of accounts and solvency' only. The statements reflected the volatile nature of movie business with high sales in some years and blank books in others. In FY12, it did not have any sales. The firm had a capital, work in progress, of Rs 17.83 crore and unsecured loans of an equal amount.
In FY13, when English Vinglish was released, Gutz Feel reported sales of Rs 20.61 crore. It reported expenses of Rs 20 crore under the head 'purchases made for re-sale'. Net Loss for the year was Rs 9.27 lakh. Unsecured loans came down to Rs 1 crore.
FY14 was relatively quiet with no major release. Sales were zero and a loss of Rs 83,701 was reported. Unsecured loans jumped to Rs 10.59 crore. In FY15, Gutz reported sales of Rs 4.4 crore and other income of Rs 7.1 crore. It did not have any major expenditure and after paying tax of Rs 1.43 crore, it reported profit of Rs 9.85 crore.
Of this, Rs 20 lakh went to the reserves of the company, while the rest was distributed among the partners. The firm is yet to file numbers for FY16. An email sent to the official address of Gutz Feel and Jhunjhunwala seeking details about films produced and in the pipeline did not elicit any response. Damani could not be reached. According to Gutz filings, it had two other partners namely Rajagopalan Balakrishnan (Balki) and Manish Gupta, a former associate of Jhunjhunwala. Jhunjhunwala and Damani, both named in the Forbes list of billionaires in 2015, are known to be friends for decades in market circles. But their personalities are a study in contrast. Even their stock portfolios (holding of one per cent or more) did not show any similarity. While Jhunjhunwala is known for his strong views, including those on issues beyond the markets, Damani is said to be reclusive by nature.
Known as 'white and white' on the Street for his dressing habits, Damani's famous investments include his big stake in VST Industries and India Cements. He also owns hypermarket chain DMart.
Jhunjhunwala's big investments include Titan, Lupin and Crisil.
Apart from Gutz Feel, the duo was not known to have any overt business relationship, though the Forbes citation called Damani a mentor to Jhunjhunwala.