India's Top 100 Digital Stars 2023

Rajiv Whabi on finding creative inspiration in a business world

Rajiv Whabi is part of a growing breed of multipreneurs blending commercial and creative interests

Published: May 7, 2020 07:11:56 PM IST
Updated: May 8, 2020 02:51:14 PM IST

Rajiv Whabi on finding creative inspiration in a business world
As the scion of a business family that has a robust reputation in property development, he says merging his creative interests while keeping business goals in perspective is what drives him.

He discusses his take on films, work, creative inspiration, and even his playlist below:

Q: You have diverse interests across multiple sectors. How do you prioritize them?

I consider the intention behind my choices. This way I’m mindful and intuitively focused on what’s important. After that, you have do your best and trust the process.

I also try not to rush into things, unless necessary. I feel the best inspirations and decisions emerge during moments of stillness. Everything else is just routine.

Q: How did you decide to get into filmmaking without any prior learning in it?

It’s been quite a natural progression. Exploring photography since high school gradually lead to discovering film in later years. I was also convinced about digital streaming early on, and saw that tech advancements made it seamless and lucrative to produce filmed content.

Self-learning is my preferred way with things that I’m interested in. Like Steve Jobs said, “the vision pulls you”.

I still continue photography as a hobby, some of which has been catalogued by a global leader in stock images.

Q: In your most recent feature film, apart from being a producer, you’ve also taken on additional roles as a director and co-writer. Which do you feel fits you best? Why?

Production for sure. I enjoy conceiving a project and steering it from script to screen.

Direction or writing is something I would be more selective about. A director and writer’s creative responsibility is quite demanding to be engaged in anything else.

However, I enjoy going through screenplays because it combines the thrill of reading a book and watching a movie.

Q: What industry are you excited about that you haven’t yet had a chance to dip into?

Though it’s early for details, I am looking forward at venturing into the direct-to-consumer ecommerce space by later this year.

Q: How do you approach challenges when working on something new?

In retrospect, challenges always turn out to be guidance in disguise. I think recognizing when to adapt to one, or make a shift in direction can be quite the skill to develop. 

Q: Elaborate your background and other influences on your work.

A creative inclination with a business background is a neat mix.

My late grandfather was among the first hoteliers in Dubai during the 1950s. He experienced great success alongside Dubai’s growth into a world-class city. Likewise, my father achieved tremendous growth in Mumbai as a property developer over several decades and continues to.

Surely there’s inherited influences, but personal ambition and purpose is always self-ignited.

Q: Considering the property background, any thoughts on that sector?

India as mature market will always enjoy a healthy natural demand. Internationally, properties in Dubai offer excellent value for a wholesome lifestyle experience in the long term.

Being born in Mumbai and having lived in Dubai for the greater part of my life, I’ve been able to experience the best of both cities to stay connected with work, friends, and family.

Q: Do you think we’ll see any major post-pandemic changes influencing our lives?

A gradual shift in consumption behaviour across several industries is already happening, and will influence everyone directly or indirectly. It’ll be exciting to see how change breeds innovation now.

It’s also a reminder that respectful co-existence among nature and all living creatures is integral to human wellbeing.

Q: So, where do seek your creative inspiration?

Movies, books, and music – these are simple luxuries that we can enjoy at anytime and anywhere.

Q: In that case, what are your all-time favourite recommendations for watching, reading, listening?

Watching: ‘Midnight in Paris’ by Woody Allen is the most witty, engaging ride through music, literature, art, history, and cinema presented in the director’s signature style.

Reading: ‘The Power of Your Subconscious Mind’ by Joseph Murphy is an old favourite. Newer titles like ‘Bored and Brilliant’ by Manoush Zomorodi and ‘Anything you Want’ by Derek Sivers are unconventionally refreshing reads.

Listening: Jazz crooners from the earlier decades including Dean Martin, Julie London, Frank Sinatra, and some French vocalists like Edith Piaf, Serge Gainsbourg, and Carla Bruni. Bollywood is mandatory, of course.

Disclaimer: The views, suggestions and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Forbes India journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.

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