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Getting the right mix

Vishal Shetty of Fire `n' Ice, Mumbai, shares his business mantra and future plans for Hyderabad


FIRE `N' Ice is a familiar name for those who party in Mumbai. Frequented by Bollywood stars like Dino Morea, Bipasha Basu, Sanjay Dutt and Salman Khan, and the fashion fraternity, the place opened new vistas in clubbing in October 1999. "We decided to come up with a place with attitude, which is more than just a social hub. Fire `n' Ice is too loud to converse, and there is no way you can socialise. People come to dance and go back. It's more like a workout. We have instances when celebrities such as Yash and Avanti Birla call up to say that they would be coming over for a dance," says Vishal Shetty, CEO of Fire `n' Ice who was in town recently to take the console at Bottles & Chimney.

And incidentally, B&C is designed on the same format. "The two-level discotheque can hold 700 couples, but at any given time one finds 1,200 couples dancing at Fire `n' Ice. I was so impressed by the place that I wanted to create a replica in the twin cities. Fire `n' Ice is an inspiration for any entrepreneur who is into clubbing," says Sanjay Chimnani of Bottles & Chimney.

Vishal Shetty, the moghul behind the mammoth discotheque, had a mixed bag of backgrounds to assimilate from, to create a business model. His father has a chain of restaurants in Mumbai and Vishal himself was into diamond trade when not organising parties, which were a hit and eventually made him start the disc.

His business secret is, "let the music speak. I tell my DJs `play for people, never play for yourself' and `have a hold on people music-wise'. We tried to know what kind of music people loved and subsequently allotted a night each for different genres of music by breaking the week into a hip-hop Sunday, trance Tuesday, Chandi Bar — the Bollywood night on Wednesday, a retro Thursday and a club night Saturday. We fly down international acts for the same. We have had celeb performances such as the one by Yana Gupta for the Hindi nights," he says.

And it is Hindi music that he belts out when on console at his club on special occasions. "Hindi music rules. In fact, it works in Mumbai.

There is no greater high than having a dance floor that moves to Hindi music," he says. On the agenda is the Fire `n' Ice remix album, "it is how we think remix should be, a balanced album with three hip hop, one Punjabi, two each of house and trance numbers," he says.

Relocating Fire `n' Ice and opening another branch in Pune are next on the cards. Hyderabad also figures in the list. "It is in the pipeline. We are thinking of Hyderabad. We would be the first club in Asia to have a chain of discotheques if that materialises," he says. he place is into nightclub and discotheque which surely won't fit the law bill in the twin cities for the moment. But he will be back in town to take guest sessions as part of the DJ workshop at Bottles & Chimney, slated for early November.

"This is an international trend. For instance, Red Bull sponsors DJ school in Sao Paolo. DJ as a profession is picking up. There is a lot of scope. You cake remix or cut your own album sitting in Hyderabad if you have the talent," he says.

So all ye people with fire and a cool attitude get ready for a few sessions with the guru on Pioneer CDJ 1000 and Techniks 1210 MKII turntables. The heat is on.

SYEDA FARIDA

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