It is customary to talk about the cover story first but let’s break form and talk about another story in our ranks. Art and Commerce have always had an ambiguous relationship. The two remain distant enough to keep the attraction alive and must tango for the latter to have respectability and former to keep body and soul together. It is natural then that people who connect these two disparate worlds must have knowledge and charm, to get you over the line when logic fails. Neville Tuli has both in copious amounts. He had the drive and chutzpah to set up an auction house, art advisory services and later an art fund in just a few years time. He also has the mind of a riverboat gambler. Till the economy was doing well he held all the aces. His gamble, unfortunately, is in now in bit of a tangle. The downturn has meant that his art fund has under-performed. The story on Osian’s lays bare in all its richness the problems of the Indian art market and indeed Tuli himself. The trio of Dinesh Narayanan, Elizabeth Flock and Shloka Nath have travelled high and low to get you this story.
On to the cover now. There are few stories as inspiring as entrepreneurs taking on all odds to live their dream and create well-being and wealth for the society. Usually the larger companies are the ones that you and I notice but there is some amazing entrepreneurship happening in this country. The heartening aspect is that it is happening all across the country. There are ten companies in our list. You may not have heard about them but each one is unique because of its focus and business model. They have a lot of private equity money riding on them and that gives them the edge.
Next up you should check out our special report on 3G. It has been hanging fire for a while and you can never believe it will happen till it does. But we believe that 3G will only have an evolutionary impact. The auctions have been diluted so much that the established order of Indian telecom is unlikely to be challenged too much. It will be up to the market leaders to disrupt their business models and allow 3G to deliver them from their current troubles.
From 3G to 3 Idiots. Aamir Khan — the man gets a six-pack for Ghajini and videos of his training get full airplay on TV channels before the film releases. Similarly, he hotfoots across the dusty towns of the Indian hinterland to spread the word for 3 Idiots. Aamir explained the method and the madness behind the marketing campaign. The man is “more than 5 point someone”. And no, Chetan Bhagat didn’t say that.
(This story appears in the 05 February, 2010 issue of Forbes India. You can buy our tablet version from Magzter.com. To visit our Archives, click here.)