Saturday, December 7, 2019
Home > Fashion & Lifestyle > The Dubai Insider: Uma Ghosh Deshpande on star power

The Dubai Insider: Uma Ghosh Deshpande on star power

I’m a big fan of women entrepreneurs who create a niche for themselves. Being one myself, I understand the challenges of setting out on your own quite well — starting with the concept, business viability, execution, marketing, etc.

So when I was invited to the launch of Naira, I was excited about meeting the brainy beauties behind this project — Susanne Roshan and Gauri Khan. The party, hosted by Rekha and Mahesh Taurani in their Emirates Hills villa, had a “who’s who” of the UAE, also prospective investors in the custom-made luxurious project which includes 12 villas in India’s most famous beach destination Goa.

Backed by leading Indian real estate developer EMGEE Group and celebrity designer Martin Waller of Andrew Martin (UK), the project is open to Dubai’s wealthy. But why is the project open only to Indians in Dubai? Surely, there is a substantial number of investors in India who can afford the A-list holiday home?

“Goa is beautiful but why would someone invest Dh5-6 million in a villa there?” a guest at the party — who didn’t wish to be named — had asked. Another guest explained how challenging it was to maintain property in India with bureaucracy and the volatile political scene. He’d researched well to suggest Thailand as a better option in terms of location and pricing. (And no, he didn’t want to be named either!).

Another guest came up with an interesting suggestion to pool resources in a villa. Share the cost, share the luxuries. If all agree to holiday at different times of the year, the idea is worth considering.

The charming, dynamic and intelligent Roshan, who has personally invested in one of these villas, believes Naira will provide the luxurious accommodation that Indians in Dubai are used to. I must admit that the villas in the presentation were extremely impressive — a perfect getaway for those who want to enjoy modern luxuries amid the raw beauty of nature.

I would have loved to hear more about such amenities from the ladies themselves. An in-depth conversation by suppliers with potential buyers is always helpful.

This made me wonder whether Indians take star power seriously? And do our ‘stars’ overestimate the sway they think their name holds? Will star value alone suffice to ensure a project’s success, as in our films? Dubai, after all, is a city of forward thinkers, smart investors and intelligent buyers.

A couple of days after the party, as I thanked Rekha for her hospitality, she informed me that the effort was well worth her while as Naira had already booked two investors.