For that enticing sheen
Brass becomes burnished gold at Smart Creations run by entrepreneur Pankaj Bhandari. MALATHI RANGARAJAN writes...
Glistening temple kalasams ... a handiwork of Smart Creations.
FROM THE gleaming Ganeshas to the awe-inspiring temple kalasams (for the Thiruvanmiyur Marundeeswarar Temple) the array at Smart Creations, (Ph: 044- 2623 0033) in Ambattur Industrial Estate, is alluring indeed. "These items are getting ready to be sent," Pankaj Bhandari (email@example.com) points to the kalasams, and the charming figurines beside them.
"As far as gold plating as an industry goes ours is the first of its kind in Chennai. Of course, there are small players in the field. But ours is a systematised industry."
The young entrepreneur is a picture of enthusiasm as he takes you around his unit and explains the various stages of his job, right from de-oxidising to the final layer of lacquer coating, when dull, darkened metal objects gain amazing glitter and sheen.
"Just notice the dirt on this gold ring. We don't undertake to clean or polish pure gold products. This is just a demo," says Pankaj as he pulls out the ring on his finger and drops it into a heated solution. This is the first step. Can you see how it shines even though only cleaning is over?" In a matter of seconds Pankaj takes the ring out and you notice the difference.
"The parameters are continuously monitored. And so we are able to give a safe three-year guarantee for each item. And in areas that are not near the sea, we can even go up to five," he says. Smart Creations has recently secured ISO certification for coating.
Swan-shaped hook ... for an aesthetic hold.
Pankaj holds a Masters in Finance. And what he's into now is a far cry from his subject of speciality. So when he goes on about the environment friendly, state of the art technology that Smart Creations adopts, the chemical processes followed, the importance of heating and cooling the metal at the right temperature and the effectiveness of their technology, which also proves cost-effective, you are intrigued. He laughs: "Even while in school the subject I would try to avoid most was Chemistry. But today it's my business." Pankaj has trained in the technology of gold coating in England and also in Mumbai.
Significantly no customer is small for Smart Creations. "A person coming to my office albeit with a tiny item to be polished, is important to me, because he has taken the pains to come to my doorstep ... " Pankaj sounds very sentimental about his clientele that includes many a rung, from the middle class retail customer to hotels that boast of Five Star splendour. Every three months, star hotels in the city were sending their door handles for polish to Mumbai or elsewhere. But notwithstanding the fact that the objects are exposed to constant use, Pankaj offered them a six-month guarantee. "That was only a cautious estimate. Now we're clearing a 10-month period easily and we are working towards a three-year time frame for these too ... " says Pankaj. Apart from the Taj group of hotels, Smart's operations in the city encompass Sheraton and GRT Groups, Poompuhar Show room, Lucas TVS, Southern Railway and Officers Training Academy, to name a few.
Pankaj has turned his attention towards temple kalasams too. The 24-carat gold plating with electro-phoretic lacquering done on the kalasams and kavachams is an internationally approved process. An added special coating that is given protects the kalasams from oxidisation, which is inevitable because they are exposed to Sun and rain. "Even so we could guarantee a 12-year life for our gold plating," says Pankaj. Smart Creations has already worked on more than half dozen temples in the city including Sri Santhana Srinivasa Perumal Temple, Mogappair, and the Kalibari Temple in West Mambalam. The Swami Omkarananda Saraswati Charitable Trust, in Rishikesh, and the Jai Durga Ma Dev Sher Wali Temple, in Bangalore are a few other holy precincts where Smart has made its presence felt. "We have the international standard and expertise to work on the maintenance of our temples. So we hope to forge ahead in this area. In fact I am very keen to make a mark in this sphere," observes Pankaj.
After the gold plating venture began to take off in a big way, Pankaj decided to start manufacturing products. And again he began with door handles. So from service oriented business, the smart creators branched into manufacturing arty products for the home, from puja bells and intricately carved handles, nameplates (he shows us one that he had made for Mr L. K. Advani) towel rods, oonjals, mirror frames, ornamental tables, silver-plated cutlery, hollow ware, gift items and figurines from the exclusive "Lucky Ganesha" (as Pankaj has named it) to exquisite images of gods and goddesses. The wide range on display is an artistic treat for the connoisseur.
Smart has made nearly 50 gold coated Kripananda Variar idols for the Saravana Bhavan hotel chain.
"Value addition is what we're looking at ... We vouch for the quality of our work and our products. The best of brands don't always offer guarantee. We do ... "
It could be satin gold, nickel or silver finish that you wish for, or black nickel, brass antique or even platinum antique you crave for. Smart offers all these choices and much more. So if you wish to give a face-lift to your puja room or lend lustre to your drawing room artefacts, Smart is at your service to maintain them for you.
"We can collect the objects, work on them and bring them back to your home," says Pankaj. "And just think of the quality time the woman of the house can save on when the service comes with an enticing guarantee spell," he smiles. The offer does sound irresistible.
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