Rajkumari Sharma Tankha
Not many of us would know that it was nearly 40 years back, in 1978, that Kishan Mohan Bijli, the father of Ajay Bijli and Sanjeev Bijli of PVR Ltd, bought Priya cinema hall in Basant Lok, New Delhi. However, it was not that the owner of a thriving and one of the biggest trucking businesses in the country, Amritsar Transport Company, saw any business opportunity in it. He bought it more out of a sense of social service. But it wasn’t until 1990, the year Ajay got married and went to Orlando for his honeymoon where he spent time at the Walt Disney World Resort and came across a multiplex for the first time, that this elder son of Kishan Mohan realise the potential Priya cinema hall had. Given his passion for cinema, “…Ajay would visit regularly to watch films, often sitting through all four shows of the day…,” Ajay returned and went straight to his father and said “I want to renovate Priya.” And it was after some convincing that Kishan Mohan gave in and the new look cinema hall reopened in 1991. And over the next few years, “Priya had cemented its position as the favourite cinema for anyone who wanted to watch English movies in Delhi.” However, it was in 1995 that Ajay signed a joint venture with an Australian company, Village Roadshow who were expanding in Asia, and thus Priya Village Roadshow (PVR) was born.
This is one of the seven stories the author, Prince Mathews Thomas, takes us on along with him as he offers a detailed insight into the lives of the country’s super successful second-generation entrepreneurs through his book, The ConSOLIDators. Not only do these stories inspire one, they also make you dream big and guide you on how can one take a business to the next level with sheer hard work and honesty.
A former journalist, Prince also talks about famous entrepreneurs – Abhishek Khaitan and how he rewrote the success story of Rampur Distillery with the launch of 8PM brand of liquor after renaming the company, “taking the first two letters from each word of its earlier name, Rampur Distillery, to Radico Khaitan to Mithun Chittilappilly of V Guard, a major electrical appliances manufacturer, to TS Kalyanraman of Kalyan Jewellers and Vikas Oberoi, the promoter of Oberoi Realty to Priya Paul of Apeejay Surrendra Park Hotels.
Not to forget, Rituraj Sinha who “has been the catalyst that has taken Security and Intelligence Services (SIS) right to the top of India’s security business.” Quoting Sinha in the book, Prince writes, “What I inherited was a fantastic business. Not for its revenue or its scale, but for the intangibles. Three or four fundamental ideas that my father imagined in the business early on are still the pillars of SIS’s development.” SIS, pens the author, “has grown exponentially in the fifteen years since Rituraj joined the business, from a Rs 25 crore company to a diversified security company that is clocking Rs 5,000 crore…It is the biggest Indian company in the security business, second only to the multinational giant G4S in the domestic market…”
Written in lucid English with no additional superlatives, The ConSOLIDaters, talks about the second generation of the famous Indian entrepreneurs who took over from their fathers and strenghthened the businesses, passing through various acid tests but never ever giving in. At no point of time while reading through the 260-page book does one gets the feeling of boredom, such is the flow of each of the seven stories.
A must read if reading life stories is what you like.