Mazhar Nadiadwala talks to The Sherp about the magnificence of Dome@NSCI and how it’s going to set standards across the world.
The Sherp: It’s great to finally meet you sir. You come from a really illustrious background with more than 20 years of experience. Can you tell us about your journey to this point?
Mazhar Nadiadwala: It’s been a really long journey, I don’t know where we can exactly start off from but just to give you a little gist, we come from the background of entertainment with a family legacy. The Nadiadwala’s have spent around 60-62 years in the Indian industry, starting out from the black and white days. When my time arrived, I produced a film and at that point I was the youngest producer for the time. After the film, we had some joint productions with various multinational companies and went on to events where I joined hands with the Moranis’ and Soormas’ and Cineyug. From here, we took Cineyug to great heights and built a record number of achievements and received a lot of accolades for it. It has been a great journey so far. We’ve also garnered a lot of international exposure after going across the world and hosting events where ever any Indian show can happen. We’ve taken Bollywood and music overseas. The artists and the industry fraternity have been really kind; we share a great rapport and relationship with them which benefits us in a lot of ways. Besides that, we have entered into television in a big way. Our showreel consists of the various divisions we have conquered, right from Bollywood events to television events to television reality shows to sports coverage, which includes the opening and closing of sports ceremonies and various national and international level of sports games. Recently, we organised the IPL opening ceremony. So, the whole journey has been an enjoyable and glamorous one with all the different kinds of events we organise and the accolades we have won. One of the last awards that we won was from the events as well as the television industry for Filmfare, which was again hosted at Dome@NSCI for the first time and we are sure it’s here to stay.
The Sherp: Now coming to Dome@NSCI; Mumbai has not seen anything like it. What would you say was the inspiration behind running a venue like this? What inspired you to get this going?
Mazhar Nadiadwala: Coming from the entertainment industry, we had ventured into entertainment, events, social, functions, sport and also gone international. It was time to do something for India. We all know that India is no less than any other country in the world and we, in the entertainment industry, wanted that point to come across. Of course there are limited venues in India which you can actually venture out to convert, so we had the opportunity of picking up this venue which already is state-of-the-art and can be further improvised to create those kinds of facilities. One of its unique features is its load-bearing roof. Also, it is situated in one of the prime areas of South Mumbai with a great sea-facing location and is well-connected via transport facilities with a parking area too. The kind of air conditioning we use, the facilities we can offer, everything put together; this was a place where we could actually create an internationally-recognised venue. Even the facilities today are ones that are growing and we are improvising with it every day. Like the acoustics are still being worked on and we are going to having one on the best acoustic systems in India compared to any other arena. We are coming closer to being one of the best arenas of the region in our size and capacity and competing with the best in the world. When we saw this opportunity, we were like this is it and we have to take this up. There was a one-point agenda; we wanted to make a statement for India, so every Indian can proudly say that we have this iconic venue in our country. We want people to value Dome@NSCI-SVP Stadium, as the destination of its kind to live your ultimate experience.
The Sherp: For a venue that holds so many large scale events, what are the typical challenges you have to overcome before hosting an event?
Mazhar Nadiadwala: Speaking about the kind of venue we have, loads of facilities and amenities are at one’s disposal to avail. So, you would only find ease of operations rather than challenges in every sphere or every aspect. We look at what a client or an agency would require to perform the most successful events in the world and make it as automated as possible. We have only been improvising and getting backup systems that no other venue has in India and doing away with any kind of challenges. In time, we have eliminated most of the challenges that one would face. It’s like a one-stop shop and everything is already curated and already aligned. So, when we have an exhibition, we ensure clients don’t face a challenge and operations are as streamlined as possible. We have an excellent team servicing the clients. Without our team, even I wouldn’t be able to do anything as smoothly as they make it. So I must give it up to my team at Dome@NSCI who are absolutely wonderful in what they do and of course the whole management of NSCI and the NSCI team who are also very wonderful and co-operative. They help us make our plans better and give us more facilities to make it easy for everyone who wants to come in. Organisers can actually turn around their events in a lesser time period too and optimise their engaged time window as much as possible so they can have a quicker turnaround. This also enables us to accommodate more events and more functions keep coming in. So, I would say that we are actually doing away with whatever challenges there may have been and bringing in the most comfortable experience.
The Sherp: What is the decision making process that goes into deciding what you would like to host here and what you wouldn’t like to host here. What is that whole process like?
Mazhar Nadiadwala: This is an interesting question about choosing and analysing what we want to do. We want to do everything that the audiences and the public want and what they would like and enjoy. But, of course, keeping that one point in mind that we have to do a lot of breakthrough events; events that are happening for the first time or something that has never happened before in India and you’re bringing that over here. That includes it all, whether it’s a B2B activity, B2C activity or it could even be a social activity; we are going across that whole board to see whatever hasn’t been done before with a venue of this stature and now it’s possible to do it over here. We have people not only from Bombay but also those who are travelling from across India and abroad who want to come here to watch what they want to watch or to experience what one wants to experience. We also have tie-ups with brands/MNC’s who have been delighted to be associated with us. Our relations all across have only grown stronger. One of the important landmark association we can talk about has been the Broadway musical Beauty & The Beast. It was a breakthrough in the entertainment industry in India and a remarkable achievement. For the first time, an international Broadway show of this level was brought to India and was performed successfully. So yes, that is the kind of agenda we are moving forward with. We need to add to the iconic status that we already have.
The Sherp: The events industry, in general, has very recently seen a boom. So what is your take on that and how do you see it growing in the future?
Mazhar Nadiadwala: The events and the entertainment industry is growing really fast and so is sports. So there are many factors that can actually work in its favour. There is exposure to international events that are happening and there is more exposure coming in. At Dome@NSCI, we not only want to contribute to the growing trend but add value by opening overseas. Other than entertainment and sports, we want to promote EDM festivals, others festivals, cultural events, at the venue. We have organised events for Navratri and Holi. It’s all about bringing in different kinds of cultural genres into this venue. There are film award functions which are usually done outdoor because of its scale and size. But now, we can actually have an Oscar-like award function here which, when brought in here, changes the whole experience. The minute you come indoors, the feel, the experience, the luxury; everything adds on. We have a huge seating capacity that goes into tier levels too. When we go into tier levels, the kind of view you have is again very different from the kind of a view which we would not have been able to create in an open ground and that helps us in various ways to stand out.
The Sherp: What are your plans for the future of Dome@NSCI?
Mazhar Nadiadwala: Obviously, there are a lot of things coming up. One we would like to mention is Broadway shows like the one we recently organised, Beauty And The Beast. We’re going to curate a big one and would mention more details at the right time. It’s going to be as spectacular and as international as a Broadway could get. Other than that, there are a certain amount of sports either to tie-up with or maybe create one on our own which has never happened before or a sport that has been structured in a new format. Since we have this space of this kind of potential, we will be able to bring new formats in and curate it in such a way that you’ll have the most unexpected experience and release it when the time is right. I don’t want to open up too much on these at this point as there will be a proper announcement. There is a lot in store! We also have some exhibitions, trade activities that we will do for people in India and people across the world, both B2B and B2C again. We are also looking at joining hands with various countries to come to India and bring n experience not seen before. As our tag line says – “Live experiences here” “Live experience here”