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The many faces of success

The climb to the top is tough. But hard work, dedication and the drive to make it big will get you there, say those who have made it

Photo: S. Siva Saravanan

SPIRIT OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP Pioneers in their own right

It was a Sunday morning. But the auditorium at Sri Ramakrishna Kalyana Mandapam was packed to capacity. Youngsters, housewives and entrepreneurs turned up in large numbers to listen, observe and take the cue from success stories of individuals.

Organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry as part of its Chamber Show 2005, Vetriyin Panmugangal — the many facets of success — brought together successful individuals from various fields to share their journey to the top.

The event also reinforced the fact that the entrepreneurial strengths of the city continue to inspire. As the Chairman and Managing director of Menaka Cards, Chennai, R. Shangaralingam rightly put it: "I attribute my success to Coimbatore mann (soil). It was while studying here in college that the seeds of entrepreneurship were sowed in my mind. I drew my inspiration from mill owners and the motor industry owners of this city."

He learnt the nuances of printing during his stint at Kalaikathir Achagam. Twenty-six years after he started in a small room paying Rs. 65 as monthly rent, his company has 30 dealers across the country and employs 400 people.

"The card designed for my wedding set the ball rolling. I wanted to win and never gave up. Dedication, sincerity and involvement, the qualities which I imbibed from industrialists here helped me reach such heights," he says. His advice to entrepreneurs — "Make your product speak for itself."

Listening to the heart

When actress R. Radhikaa Sarathkumar took the stage, it was time to listen to the success story of Radaan Media Works, her production house in Chennai. " One important thing which I learnt in my career is never take too much advice and always listen to your heart. I realised that television was booming and took the decision to get into this segment," she says.

She told the audience about Radaan's transition from a private limited company to a proprietorship firm and then a successful public limited company. "I was battling loan problems and at one point when everything went wrong, I just stopped and analysed. I felt the need to corporatise things. After the success of the serial Idhi kadha kaadhu on ETV, Chithi happened and people started looking at my company differently," she explains.

The company now produces serials in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Hindi, Gujarati and Sinhalese.

"Now, TRP ratings have become like weekly exam results," she says, adding that the man who doesn't make any mistakes doesn't make anything at all.

The Managing Director of Cholayil (P) Ltd., Chennai (Medimix), V. S. Pradeep, gave a presentation explaining the growth of the company from one with an annual turnover of Rs. one crore in 1983 to Rs. 200 crore in 2005, its promotional campaigns and foray into the now-popular in-film advertising decades ago in K. Balachander's Aboorva Ragangal

"We hail from a traditional ayurvedic family and my father Dr. V. P. Sidhan started the business with an investment of Rs. 1, 000 in the backyard of our house in railway quarters. Our success is sincere," he added.

Converting failure

Noted film producer Kalaippuli S Thanu told the gathering that involvement with dedication in work is the key to success.

He also believed that every film poster should tell a story. "It is this technique which helped movies which had flopped such as Sharadha, Kannadasan's Kavalaiyilladha manithan and Bairavi run to packed houses later."

He also narrated the promotional campaign of the thriller Yaar?

"The lead pair Arjun and Nalini was not very popular. So, we had to create a hype with scary posters and bring in a devout feel by making junior artistes dance in the cinema theatre during the climax amman song."

He also spoke about his setbacks. "I lost many crores with the Kamal starrer Aalavandhan, but instead of giving up I swung back with movies like Kaakha Kaakha and Sachien."

The Managing Director of Habasit Iakoka, N. Subramanian, who coordinated the show enlivened the proceedings with his message - laden speech delivered with a touch of humour.

K. JESHI

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