When Shoojit Sircar’s Vicky Donor hit the silver screen in 2012, a new star—Ayushmann Khurrana—emerged. The film on sperm donation crossed Rs35 crore at the box office, won critical acclaim and the National Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment that year. After Vicky Donor, Khurrana bagged a three-movie contract with Yash Raj Films in 2013, becoming part of the coveted talent division that manages the brand image of promising actors.
Before entering the movie business, Khurrana worked for television and radio. He says nothing much has changed apart from the fact that he has switched from a steady salary to an irregular income stream. “I am not really good with money. I was never aware of taxation. But my CA (chartered accountant) comes in and helps me with it. I was always bad with money and I think most artistes are like that. They don’t use both sides of the brain,” he says.
He started earning when he was in college purely by chance. “We had gone to do a play in an all-girls college. The emcee of the function was not doing well and the principal of the college requested one of us to take over. I went on stage and did it and they paid too. I probably got Rs2,500. That was a lot of money in 2002.” He gave the money to his mother. In 2006, at a salary of Rs60,000, he joined a radio company as an RJ. “Then I was trying to understand the concept of CTC (cost-to-company).” Post radio, he worked for MTV, till Vicky Donor happened. “In 2012, when I left MTV, irregular income started.” But life changed for the better, he says. “I think cricket and cinema are two big entities in the country. If you are part of either, you are sorted.”
He says nothing has changed. “It is just that I have a bigger house, a bigger car, and have been going for more vacations. I travel a lot. I go for quarterly vacations. Everything else is the same. I don’t overspend. I believe in always living within my means. The irregular inflow of income hasn’t made me secure or insecure.”
He recently bought a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, which he terms “an extravagant buy”. “In Mumbai it takes you 2 hours to reach from one place to another. You need to look fresh at the same time. Most of the time I spend on the road, so technically it is not actually an extravagant buy.”
Since he is not good with money management, he seeks professional help. “Initially, my dad’s CA (chartered accountant) used to handle my accounts, till Vicky Donor happened. Then I joined Yash Raj Films. Our (Yash Raj) CA is just as helpful because he is hands-on. My dad’s CA is in Chandigarh. I come to Yash Raj often to talk about my finance with my CA. It is easier.”
His investment basket includes real estate, insurance policies and mutual funds, and he is a systematic investor. “I have bought real estate in Chandigarh and Mumbai. In fact, people say it is not the safest these days. My CA helps me out with mutual funds and insurance. I know what he is doing with my money. I give him a particular amount every month to try out stuff.” Khurrana has also tried to invest in gold. “In 2008, I had bought gold and it backfired. The prices are decreasing. I have also invested in liquid gold. I was the co-owner of the Punjab team in the CCL (Celebrity Cricket League) but the team didn’t do well.”
At present, says Khurrana, he is trying to increase his income through acting and music. “I have two parallel things running for me and I enjoy both. I recently did a US and Canada tour with my band Ayushmann Bhava. So I do a lot of gigs and one film a year.” The two professions complement each other, he says. “I am fortunate to be an actor; it is also the reason why people come for my concerts.” He says the number of celebrity-led tours have also increased—and have become an income-generation vehicle. “Such means are becoming popular. You would be surprised by the number of actors touring these days.” Besides the US and Canada, he has done concerts in Australia and the UK. “It is increasing not just for me but for other actors and singers too.” He also earns from endorsements with brands like Colgate, Zolo and Nissan.
Khurrana’s financial journey, like that of any other young professional, is skewed towards income generation, the first step to building a strong financial portfolio. For now then, the investment portfolio is secondary.
Name: Ayushmann Khurrana
Invests in: Real estate, insurance policies and mutual funds
In 2008, I had bought gold and it backfired. The prices are decreasing. I have also invested in liquid gold. I was the co-owner of the Punjab team in the CCL (Celebrity Cricket League) but the team didn’t do well.