"We Want Artistes to Have as Much Fun as the Audience": Yogesh Mehta
Petrochem MD Yogesh Mehta and son Rohan talk exclusively to Masala.com about their plans to revitalise Dubai's cultural scene
There is some great news for art and music lovers in Dubai. Petrochem MD Yogesh Mehta and his son Rohan have come up with a unique platform to add some much-needed zing to the cultural scene of the city through their new venture Raging Tiger Events Management Co. The objective: to enliven the cultural landscape by organising exclusive experiences (musical, culinary and otherwise) with top-notch artistes from across the world. For a city largely known to swing to pop Bollywood numbers at been-there-seen-that concerts, here is an opportunity to savour refined, classy and sublime music that the Mehtas aptly describe as “musical, magical and mystical”. So what more do they have up their sleeve? Masala! chatted at length with Yogesh and Rohan Mehta on matters of music, their first concert with Rekha Bhardwaj and Meesha Shafi, the need to preserve our musical legacy and much more. Excerpts from an interview…
Congratulations on your new venture Raging Tiger Events Management Co. How and when did you conceptualise it?
Rohan: This is purely a passion project steered by the fabric of professionalism. Both dad and I are huge fans of music; we have been promoting arts and culture in Dubai for the last 20 years. We saw a niche in the market and decided to tap into it to create a platform for music, theatre and arts to flourish. Dubai has concerts and shows galore but there is gap as far as having an exclusive experience with the artistes are concerned. This is where we come in.
What kind of events are you planning to bring to the UAE?
Rohan: We plan to start off with just four to five shows, be it concerts with international artistes, theatre productions or even intimate and highly exclusive sit-down food shows with Michelin star chefs preparing special meals. Our aim is that the audience’s experience should be musical, magical and mystical! In fact, the inaugural and launch night on 18 April promises to be just that. We have also signed Rahat Fateh Ali Khan for a performance on 23 May at the Madinat Arena. Other things on the anvil include theatre and Sufi music festivals, art and public speaking events, and more!
The first event sounds very exciting – a musical evening with Rekha Bhardwaj and Meesha Shafi. How did it come about?
Yogesh: We wanted the first event to be extra special and memorable. We also planned to create an Indo-Pak musical face off with fusion and sufi genres, so we chose two of the best names in this field. Rekha has a soft, soothing and magical voice while Meesha has a haunting, mystical and a brilliant aura about her. Together they will light up the stage! We also have Kabir Bedi who will be the master of ceremonies. The launch night is special as we will be unveiling our website, the company video as well as the Connoisseurs Club.
What is the Connoisseurs Club all about?
Yogesh: The Connoisseurs Club will be strictly by invitation. There will be a membership fee where a couple can join for a minimum of three musical events every three months or so (barring summer). Members of the club will be privy to witness first-hand, an art show, a car launch or a luxurious brand unveiling, followed by a music or dance performance, or a stand-up act in front of no more than 300-400 people. Simply put, it will be a small, private and exclusive gathering in luxurious surroundings, with gourmet food, beverages and a sit-down black tie dinner. For example, our first Connoisseurs Club night is on 21 November, 2014 with an exclusive and private performance by Sonu Nigam! We have also signed up Kailash Kher and Manjari Chaturvedi; a fusion between north and south Indian musicians and a qawwali night have been planned as well. Memberships will be open from 18 April and forms will be available on the company website.
Can you tell us more about your team?
Yogesh: We have a serious and professional team who are masters of the game in their own right. Renu Singh of Equity Events is also a director and she comes with years of experience at event management. Then we have a well-known events director like Amit Pateria who has done several successful shows in Dubai. Finally, there is the husband-wife team of Aziz and Laila Merchant who are all an integral part of our company.
How have your global experiences shaped your cultural view points?
Rohan: Being an avid traveller and running a multi-national company like Petrochem, I have always been surrounded by diverse cultures and nationalities. My work and life in America and Europe for the past seven years have also contributed to my global outlook. Hence, we would like to bring in as much diversity as we can to these events. As Indians we are initially looking to target South Asians and use our home-court advantage but we have lots of ideas and future plans!
How, in your opinion, can interest in our musical heritage be revived and sustained?
Yogesh: Unfortunately, the fast paced life today leaves no time for small pleasures.The Kindle has replaced the book and the digital media is fast replacing the newspaper. I worry that we will lose the essence of simple living and high thinking! We really need to introduce our traditional music and heritage to our children and young adults. This will help identify where we come from and keep us connected to our roots.
What is your vision for the company?
Yogesh: We want to be a professional and corporate company with a soul. We will bring new and tailor made events; we will listen to our audience and bring a welcome change and a breath of fresh air! Hence, high standard of ethics as well as delivering value and keeping our promises remain our main vision and mission values. We are here for the long term and will patiently build our brand and audience and sponsors’ support. Finally, we want our artistes to have as much fun as our audience. We must give them the love and respect they deserve; everything is not about money after all!
INFO: The first event of Raging Tiger Events Management Co. will be a performance by Rekha Bhardwaj and Meesha Shafi at Conrad Hotel on April 18, 2014, 8pm onwards. For more information call 04 417 9316. The event is by invitation only