it out-of-the-can thinking! A most unlikely foursome-(clockwise, from top
left) adman Suhel Seth, industrialist Hari Bhartia, scion of
the real estate heavyweight DLF Group Pia Singh, and hotshot
director Shekhar Kapur-have teamed up to make movies, of the
digital kind. The common link between them, no prizes for guessing, is a
passion for films. Called Digital Talkies, the fledgling company will
create content focused on digital videos and set up a broadband-enabled
web-site as an exhibition platform for digital movies, interactive
talkshows, and quizzes. Plus, there'll be a globally-accessible content
library and archive. It would also actively promote new talent. The
founding-quartet would have different roles though. Bhartia, who is also
co-chairman of Vam Organics, will provide financial insight. Seth, CEO of
ad firm Equus, will rev up marketing and distribution, with Kapur-it's his
first involvement with the new-age media-providing creative direction. And
Singh will be the hands-on CEO. Says Singh, 29, who is also a Wharton
graduate: ''With convergence being the order of the day, our company will
provide the much-needed virtual movie theatre.'' Adds Bhartia, 43, who is
also an amateur film maker: ''Since making a digital film is far less
expensive than a celluloid version, we will have room to experiment. We'll
also sell the content.'' Will the public be enthused? ''How can they not?
We will provide customised films where you can change the stories,'' quips
Seth, 37. Like getting Rhett Butler to return in Gone With The Wind?
In her heydays, she was known to jump
up on to the canteen table to address her workers! And drive from Pune to
Mumbai in two hours flat. But ever since her retirement as chairperson of
Alfa Laval, the redoubtable Lila Poonawalla, is into more sedate
activities. She has just launched her own web-site, www.lila
poonawalla.com, which provides an interesting insight into her life with a
'guest book' for people to write in. Says Poonawalla, who at 57 still
remains the Chairperson of Tetra Pak (India): ''I was writing a web
column, where people asked me a lot of questions about myself as well as
on management and industry. So, I thought of launching my own web-site.''
She is also busy with the Lila Poonawalla Foundation, which gives
scholarships to 25 girls from Pune annually. And of course, there is her
famed 500-strong matchbox collection (Poonawalla, incidentally, is a
member of the International Matchbox Collectors Club) to take care of and
an autobiography to be penned shortly. Retirement? What retirement?
The quiz master is now flying into
Net space! Derek O'Brien, or simply Derek to most quiz-loving Calcuttans,
is hitting big time with his Global Knowledge Portals, a morphed version
of his eight-year-old company, Big Ideas. The new company, which has been
part-funded by the Singapore-based and NRI-led Kaybee Group to the tune of
$1.5 million, will float a portal that would promote knowledge, albeit in
an entertaining format-something that Big Ideas was known for. ''It will
be the biggest portal of its kind, aimed at both NRIs and resident
Indians,'' the 38-year-old quiz star, who in his spare time, is known to
indulge in twin passions of bridge and horse racing, has been quoted as
saying. What can we say except best of luck?
That do you do with lots of land in
the heart of Mumbai that you can't sell? Why, set up a leisure centre with
all the trimmings. and laugh all the way to the bank! The Kasliwal
brothers of S. Kumars fame have just gone ahead and done that by
converting 4 lakh square feet of space in Worli into a state-of-the-art
shopping-cum-leisure centre at an initial investment of Rs 150 crore.
Named Landmark Citi, the centre would feature S. Maart, the group's
landmark retail store, a go-karting track that is already operational,
soon-to-come simulation theatres, roller-coaster rides, a disco, and an
ice-skating rink. Another glamorous front-end business for the hitherto
textile-led group? Says Vikas Kasliwal, 44, Chairman and a go-karting
enthusiast: ''Our research shows that leisure and retail are going to be
the biggest businesses of the future and this is the first step.''
Competition like Crossroads be damned...