Child’s play

Shah Rukh Khan

With a 26 per cent stake, Shah Rukh Khan brings KidZania - an edutainment indoor theme park to India

Think of theme parks and swanky roller coasters, water rides and arcade games immediately come to mind. But Shah Rukh Khan has sought out KidZania, a popular edutainment concept designed to inspire kids between four to 14 years with career exploration and social consciousness activities, to bring to this country. The actor, under ImagiNation Edutainment India Pvt. Ltd, a joint venture with Singapore based Kidz Inc. Pte Ltd., holds the franchise for the India operations. Currently under construction, this 75,000 square feet indoor theme park is set to open at R City Mall, Ghatkopar, Mumbai in April 2013.

The actor holds 26 per cent stake in this `100-crore project and will receive proportionate return on investment. While Khan is not involved in the day-to-day functioning, he has provided several creative inputs, according to Sanjeev Kumar, director and CEO, KidZania India. "We wanted somebody who could add brand value, content as well as the necessary funding because this project requires substantial investment. Shah Rukh Khan was extremely excited about this venture and everything just fell into place," he says.

The actor says, "For me, this is not a business venture but a desire to do something for the kids in this country. KidZania is a perfect blend of education and entertainment which gives an opportunity to children to be able to have access and information about the world of grown-ups through role play. This also helps them find out facets about themselves that helps them make career choices."

Just like in the real world, the KidZania city will have its own functioning economy and currency (kidZos) that can be used across all KidZania centres. With an airport, a city centre and paved streets, the city will present more than 75 career role-plays via 60 recognisable destinations in form of 'establishments' sponsored and branded by leading multinational and local brands. Kumar, who has closed deals with several brands that will revealed soon, explains, "For instance, if we are tying up with a bank, the establishment will be exactly like the bank's branch down to the last detail. A child will either be customer of the bank or part of the bank. That is how brands lend authenticity into the role play experience."

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