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IIMB alumni meet: Shashi Tharoor steals the show on Day 2

DECCAN CHRONICLE | DARSHANA RAMDEV
Published Dec 13, 2015, 9:22 am IST
Updated Mar 26, 2019, 6:31 pm IST
Actors, sportspersons and entrepreneurs are a huge draw at IIMB alumni meet.
Dr Shashi Tharoor, Member of Parliament, delivers the keynote address at IIM-Bengaluru
 Dr Shashi Tharoor, Member of Parliament, delivers the keynote address at IIM-Bengaluru

Bengaluru: It was actress Vidya Balan who pointed out that, IIMBUE, the IIMB Alumni Leadership Summit, is a play on the word 'imbue', which means 'inspire' and the conclave definitely lived up to its name. The summit opened on Friday evening with superstar Shah Rukh Khan, who is a hard act to follow - or so we thought. The speakers who arrived on Day 2, which took place at the Leela Palace, did not disappoint, however, with Congress MP Shashi Tharoor delivering the keynote address and finding himself mobbed by admiring men and blushing females alike!

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, who is the Chairman of the Board of Governors for IIMB, began the day in conversation with Azim Premji, talking about his life of philanthropy.

 

MP Shashi Tharoor came on next, to deliver the keynote address, which was, by his own admission, "anecdotal and cliche-ridden." We're moving toward a world where it is increasingly harder to live in isolation, because we're all so connected today. In 1991 came the liberalisation and although we have had governments of every kind since, none has been able to undo the effects of that decision." he said. "It's time we moved away from the idea of global domination and toward global cooperation instead."

Achieving Leadership: The Indian Sports landscape had tennis ace Vijay Amritraj, Olympian swimmer Nisha Millet and cricketing legend Anil Kumble up on stage immediately after the keynote address.

"My sole request to the organisers was that I don't come on after Shashi Tharoor and that's exactly what happened," said Amritraj, whose wit is delivered with his trademark deadpan expression.
He kept his audience in splits while Kumble and Millet more than held their own as well - a panel on sport seems unlikely at a leadership summit, but they stole the show.

"My parents sold our house to fund my swimming career," said Millet. "It takes unwavering dedication and passion to achieve a dream like being in the Olympics. You have no time for friends, you miss your kids' birthday parties, but that's the choice you have to make." Kumble talked about the challenges of not being born with prodigous talent, saying, "Tendulkar and I faced the same challenges. He walked on to the pitch at the age of 16 and everybody expected great things from him. I, on the other hand, was dismissed because I didn't turn the ball. He had to prove people right and I had to prove them wrong!"

A surprise drum session perked up the audience immediately after lunch (bongos were hidden under every seat) and Shashi Tharoor, who returned to the conclave in the afternoon, was seen playing his drum and bobbing his head to the music just like everybody else!

Vidya Balan stole many a heart during her much-anticipated afternoon session alongside Kabir Bedi, opening her speech with, "I don't know what I can possibly say to a group of such intelligent people, but please, bear with me." Courage and vulnerability are the cornerstones of realising one's dreams and being truly creative, she said. Her first films, she said, were done because she thought they were what she "should do. I felt like I was sleepwalking! In Pa, I needed to play a mother to 67-year-old Amitabh Bachchan, when I was half his age. It could have meant the end of my career, but what did that mean, really? I was following the voice of instinct."

IIM-B Board of Governors’ chairman Dr Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw and Wipro chairman Azim Premji

Kabir Bedi on the Oscars

What does it take for an Indian movie to win the Oscars, a member of the audience asked Bedi during his session at IIMBUE, the IIMB Alumni Leadership Summit. “A great film,” he said at once, to a ripple of laughter from the audience. Bedi, who is on the jury panel for the Oscars, said, “60% of them are American and 70% are white. They come with their own biases and tend to identify with European films more than those from Asia and Africa. They can’t be blamed, either. However, they do like human stories, which highlight suffering.” He added, much to the excitement of all those present, that Court is a very promising entrant. “I can say that people were genuinely touched and moved by the film,” remarked.

Promotions for Kahaani were outrageous: Vidya Balan

People told me that a film about a pregnant woman would never work,” said Vidya Balan, whose career has been marked by a series of bold, out of the box choices. “When it was time to promote it, I thought it would be a good idea to go out there with my fake pregnant belly. It was an outrageous proposition, but we thought we would give it one shot. So I arrived at a railway station in Mumbai, big belly and all, and started asking people if they had seen the father of my child. The campaign became so big! It’s about taking the punt, really. It might not always pay off, but that's what being an actor is about - taking risks.”

A good serve will take you further than good grades: Amritraj

Vijay Amritraj, who was one of the stars of the show at the conclave, talked about his son’s decision to play tennis. “He decided he wanted to play, which I thought was a mistake. He also asked me to be his coach, which was an even bigger mistake!” After years of training tirelessly, his son entered the Under 8 Championships in California, where they now live. “His friends were in the top 10, he was in the top 150. My wife told me then that he needed to find a better coach!” he exclaimed, evoking gales of laughter, as always. “He did go on to win the Junior Championships and three days later, had received 52 scholarships from the best schools in the country.”

Azim Premji talks about philanthropy, politics

The biggest challenge Premji encountered as he embarked upon his lifelong journey as a philanthropist is that it’s never enough. “No matter how much you give, the scope of the problem is simply too large to fully tackle.” When an audience member asked him why he doesn’t enter politics, he said, “It will kill me in two years! You need to have a very cultivated sense of insensibility to be a politician!”

My parents sold our house to fund my dreams: Nisha Millet

What does it take for an Indian movie to win the Oscars, a member of the audience asked Bedi during his session at IIMBUE, the IIMB Alumni Leadership Summit. “A great film,” he said at once, to a ripple of laughter from the audience. Bedi, who is on the jury panel for the Oscars, said, “60% of them are American and 70% are white. They come with their own biases and tend to identify with European films more than those from Asia and Africa. They can’t be blamed, either. However, they do like human stories, which highlight suffering.” He added, much to the excitement of all those present, that Court is a very promising entrant. “I can say that people were genuinely touched and moved by the film,” remarked.

 

 

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