Jeddah: A prominent Gulf NRI BR Shetty has announced plans to open a film city in Jammu and Kashmir to boost his home country’s film industry.
The film city will cover 12 square kilometers and welcome “curious” visitors. Mr. Shetty said he had already received land offers from Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh.
“Jammu and Kashmir is a very scenic place and I’m going to have a film city there so that people can come and shoot films there, and for tourism,” BR Shetty, the founder of NMC Healthcare and financial technology start-up Finablr, Arabian Business was quoted him as saying.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the UAE last month when top businessmen, including Mr. Shetty, pledged to invest in India. Mr. Shetty pledged $1 billion to Jammu and Kashmir and an additional $5 million to the New India Development Fund.
The visit came weeks after the Indian government revoked Article 370 of the constitution that granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir. It made it possible for non-permanent residents to purchase property in Jammu and Kashmir.
Mr Shetty has taken an interest in India’s film industry over the past few years. In 2017, the entrepreneur announced his plans to invest Rs. 1,000 crores in a film called The Mahabharata.
A young, indebted and jobless Indian who came to the UAE in the early 1970s with a single t-shirt which he was wearing is today one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world and among the list of Forbes’ richest billionaires and employs around 40,000 employees. Shetty’s NMC was also the first company from Abu Dhabi to list on the London Stock Exchange and is now a part of the premium FTSE 100 Index, an elite club of top 100 blue-chip companies by market cap. He also owns the UAE exchange company.
Shetty came to Abu Dhabi with a mission to repay Syndicate Bank loan of Rs. 50,000 occurred for his sister wedding. After a hard struggle, he was able to get a job as an outdoor pharmaceutical salesman in UAE and employed by Al Fahimi Pharmacy group of Dr. Ismail Fahimi in 1973.
“The first thing that I bought from the commission was a new shirt for Dh10. I still remember the Dh10 beige colored shirt”, he revealed in one of his interviews. “I had only one shirt, as no other shirt –I washed it every night to wear it the next day,” said Shetty. “
Shetty, one of the early functionaries of Jan Sangh (predecessor of ruling BJP) in his hometown and also vice-chairman of Udipi Municipality on behalf of Jan Sangh before coming to UAE in 1968. Then, Udupi municipality was the only entity other than New Delhi city corporation to have Jan Sangh at the helm of the local body. Vajpayee had come to Udupi to canvass for the party candidates. Narendra Modi, who was just 16 then, had also visited the town as an astute fan and follower of Vajpayee.
Shetty plans to invest $5 billion in creating and developing high-quality healthcare facilities across India. The investment will help establish a chain of healthcare facilities including management of government district and general hospitals all over India in the next five years.
He entered into an agreement with the AP government for the investment of Rs. 12,500 crore in health and other ventures in the new capital of Amaravati.
Shetty is already managing a government hospital in Udupi. He has taken a 70 bedded government hospital and made it into a 200 bedded mother and child hospital which is centrally air-conditioned with state of art facilities where free treatment is being offered.
Government of Karnataka Koosamma Shambhu Shetty Memorial Haji Abdullah Mother and Child Hospital in Udupi is being operated by BR Shetty’s BR Life brand. The renovated and renamed hospital was inaugurated by Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaih in 2017.
Shetty is not a newcomer in the healthcare business. He is the founder of NMC Healthcare, the largest private healthcare company in the UAE. In the last 46 years, NMC has expanded its operations to over 200 healthcare facilities that include hospitals, medical centers, long term care facilities, day surgery centers, fertility clinics, and home health services in 17 countries across the world.