Juhi Chawla Reflects on KKR’s Glamorous Beginnings and Initial Challenges in IPL Journey

Juhi Chawla Reflects on KKR’s Glamorous Beginnings and Initial Challenges in IPL Journey

Juhi Chawla, co-owner of Kolkata Knight Riders, reminisces about the early days of the IPL team

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Juhi Chawla, who co-owns the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) with Shah Rukh Khan and her husband Jay Mehta, recently talked about their journey before the first season of the Indian Premier League (IPL). Speaking at an event by the Gujarat Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Juhi shared that Lalit Modi invited her and Shah Rukh to buy a team because he wanted “glamorous people” as IPL team owners.

Juhi mentioned that Shah Rukh and Jay handled most of the initial groundwork. She recalled, “Lalit wanted the owners to be glamorous and he approached us, saying, ” Shah Rukh and you are one of the team owners. At that time, I thought in India, cricket and the film industry are the two most popular things, so it would be nice to be part of cricket.”

Even after acquiring the team, they had no experience running a cricket franchise. Juhi reminisced, “We didn’t know anything about running a cricket franchise. I remember going to Shah Rukh’s house for meetings. Everything from putting the jingle together to designing the uniforms was done in-house.” She laughed, recalling how she didn’t like the team’s first uniform. “He made it black and gold, and I was not happy with it. I thought, ‘What is this black and gold?’ because black is considered inauspicious.”

Juhi shared that their KKR meetings were often late at night because Shah Rukh was busy during the day. “Our meetings would be scheduled for 10 pm and start by 11 pm. By the time everyone finished talking, it would be 12 or 12:30 am, and I would start dozing off. After 2-3 meetings, I stopped attending. I said, ‘You guys do this, I am not coming.'”

Despite the initial challenges, KKR has won the IPL title three times—in 2012, 2014, and 2024. The team remains owned by Shah Rukh, Juhi, and Jay.