Husband of actress Shilpa Shetty, Raj Kundra, who was famously associated with Indian Premier League team Rajasthan Royals has found himself in the wrong side of the law. Kundra was, a few years ago, at the centre of the spot fixing scandal in 2013 that earned him a ban for life from IPL. Even so, the latest developments in the pornographic films case have grabbed the eyeballs. Kundra has been accused by the Mumbai Police of being the key conspirator in the case related to filming of pornographic content and releasing them through apps.
At the heart of the controversy is the Hot Shots app that has since been removed from Google and Apple app stores. The description of the latest version of the app stated that it offered "HD videos & short movies with unmatched exposure" among other things. The app also promoted live communication with models from across the world. Mumbai Police has alleged that actors were lured in the pretext of roles in short films and web series but were later made to shoot for nude and semi-nude films.
The entrepreneur has always been known for his keen interest in sports and tech. If his investments are skimmed through, one would find that the IPL model of multiple teams comprising talented contenders from across the world vying for the ultimate prize runs common.
Kundra has been instrumental in launching an MMA fighting league and a poker gaming league. Another unusual investment of Kundra is the teleshopping channel Best Deal TV. And then there is the Jaldi Live Stream app that gives the common man his shot at stardom through live streaming.
But perhaps the most popular in Kundra’s portfolio is Rajasthan Royals where he had invested along with wife Shilpa Shetty in 2009 for a 12 per cent stake. Rajasthan Royals was the winner in the inaugural year of 2008, and had quickly gained popularity. Things took a turn, when in 2013, Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings were found to be involved in a spot fixing scandal.
In 2015, a Supreme Court panel banned both the teams for two years, following which they did not play the 2016 and 2017 editions. The controversy also brought into light the involvement of Kundra and CSK owner Gurunath Meiyappan. Kundra was banned for life from IPL and related activities.
By then Kundra already had a similar league but for mixed martial arts that he formed with actor Sanjay Dutt in 2012. Super Fight League aimed to give mixed martial arts a platform in India by promoting local fighters as well as bringing in contenders from across the world. They also onboarded champion boxer Mary Kom as its brand ambassador. The league went on to produce around 50 live televised events and broadcasted on channels like ESPN Star Sports, Colors, Neo Prime, MTV India as well as YouTube.
Another similar undertaking was the Match Indian Poker League or MatchIPL that his company Viaan Industries had launched in partnership with the International Federation of Poker in 2017. Viaan Industries is involved in gaming, animation, licencing as well as entertainment. “Our Vision is to drive a lifestyle change in masses through technology offerings. Our unique business offerings enable the stakeholders, distributors, customers to be a part of the Indian Growth story,” says the company.
Kundra is also the force behind Best Deal TV, a 24x7 home shopping television channel. Actor Akshay Kumar was given a small stake for his endorsement. Launched in 2015, the channel is available across all major cable and DTH platforms. Brands with a celebrity associated with it as either co-partners or owners are sold through the teleshopping model. It is not a surprise then that the channel also sold a range of apparel and accessories under the Shilpa Shetty brand.
However, one of the most successful businesses Kundra has been involved with is JL Stream Pvt Ltd, set up under the government’s Startup India initiative. The live streaming social media app Jaldi Live Stream app allows professionals and amateurs to demonstrate their talent by live streaming. “JL Stream offers a seamless interactive live streaming UGC platform where users can broadcast at the click of a button. You can meet like minded people, chat, play games and generate revenue at the same time. JL Stream allows influencers and broadcasters to monetise and grow their fan base,” says the company. Based in Mumbai, it has offices in London and Singapore. The company saw 2 lakh downloads in three months.
Kundra, who is known for his entrepreneurial endeavours also has other interests. He is involved with the Shilpa Shetty Foundation and is the author of the novel How Not To Make Money, published in 2013. He was awarded the Champions of Change Award in 2019 by former President Pranab Mukherjee for his involvement in the Swachh Bharat Mission.
Copyright©2021 Living Media India Limited. For reprint rights: Syndications Today