Mumbai: Actor Shah Rukh Khan, the star of Bollywood hits such as Om Shanti Om and Chak De India, hopes his glamour will rub off on the real estate fortunes of a little-known Gulf emirate.
Khan will help Ras Al Khaimah, a rocky outcrop of 168 sq. km and 250,000 people, to sell an 8 billion dirham (Rs10,453 crore) beachfront development that will include an underwater disco and lounge. He presented the project, called Shah Rukh Khan Boulevard, in Dubai on 5 October.
“I’m a believer in a place where things grow fast,” Khan, who has visited Ras Al Khaimah only once, said after the briefing. Khan, 42, has endorsed products ranging from PepsiCo Inc. soft drinks to Hyundai Motor Co. cars.
Ras Al Khaimah aims to emulate Dubai, whose booming property market has attracted endorsements from celebrities including Brad Pitt and Boris Becker. The developer, TSA Group, is trying to attract foreign investors including Khan’s fans from the Indian diaspora.
As oil and gas reserves dwindle, the emirate hopes tourism will generate independent sources of income and supplement contributions from hydrocarbon-rich Abu Dhabi that provide basic infrastructure, power and public services.
The Shah Rukh Khan Boulevard will be built on the man-made Dana Island that is being developed by the government’s real estate unit Rakeen. The Boulevard will comprise townhouses and 10 towers spread across an area of 600,000 sq. ft and is due to be completed in 2012.
Khan has offered design ideas for the project, such as a glass gate at the entrance and big screens on the beach where people can watch movies, besides the underwater attractions. “For me, this is the first step to have the freedom to express myself in stone,” said Khan.