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A Man Of Many Flavours

Pankaj Chaturvedi, Chief Executive Officer (India and South Asia) of Baskin Robbins, sings for Hindi movies besides acting in dramas

Pankaj Chaturvedi, is a man who has managed to have his ‘ice-cream and eat it too’. You could also say that he is a ‘multi-flavoured’ personality.

At first glance, he comes across as just another one of those suave corporate types but that’s at first glance. There is more to him than meets the eye.

As Chief Executive Officer (India and South Asia) of Baskin Robbins, Chaturvedi is credited with the recent turnaround of the company but not many know that he has also sang the number Ek Deewana in the Salman Khan starrer Maine Dil Tujhko Diya.

Singing is a passion for Chaturvedi. He has trained under Mohan Khan Saheb, shagird of Mehndi Hasan Saheb. While Maine Dil Tujhko Diya was his first break as a playback singer, Chaturvedi’s forthcoming film as a singer is Pran Jaye Per Shaan Na Jaaye besides which he is also singing for two other films.

“I always knew I would become a playback singer. It was a childhood dream to sing with Ashaji and Lataji. But to fulfil that dream I still have a long, long way to go,” he says. Singing is also for him is the best way to unwind and cope with his high-pressure job. “It’s a different world altogether,” he says.

But his repertoire does not end management and singing. Acting is another hobby which he loves to dabble in. Chaturvedi has acted in a couple of television serials for Balaji Telefilms including Kanya Daan and the popular soap, Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki. He also worked with the National School of Drama troupe for one-and-half-years acting in the hit play, Kabuliwala. Chaturvedi was also one of the four finalists of ABCL Star Track Competition.

Chaturvedi says he would love to get back to theatre if he could find the time. “Even though I did a few serials, I was not too excited with the experience. Performing to a live audience is a different high, besides theatre is not highly commercialised like television. Acting is something I indulge in more for personal satisfaction,” he says.

While most sacrifice their hobbies on the career altar, Chaturvedi has with ease managed to nurture his talent while simultaneously carving out a successful career in one of the most demanding industries.

Calangute Beach, Goa

A graduate from Institute of Hotel Management Catering Technology and Applied Nutrition, Dadar, Mumbai, Chaturvedi has over 10 years experience in the hospitality industry. He has worked for Holiday Inn (Juhu), Terrace Garden Restaurant (Poonam Chambers, Worli) besides starting Venue Restaurant (Santacruz West) with three friends. He was also the manager for Domino Pizza. Before joining Baskin Robbins did a short stint with a company opening cyber cafes across the country.

Travelling has been a part and parcel of his present high job profile. He undertakes at least six to seven business trips a month. While in India it’s mostly the metros and other bigger cities. International travel has been mainly to United States and Dubai.

“I try and ensure that my trips are not more than three days. While I have been to quite a few cities in the US on work, Las Vegas is my most favourite foreign destination for a holiday. It’s a most amazing and vibrant city. I would love to build a city like that. In India, Goa wins hands down. I love beaches and would love to go there anytime. Besides beaches I like to retreat to hill stations, like Saputara which offers refuge from the madding crowd,” says Chaturvedi.

Despite the jet-setting, he claims to be basically a home and hearth man who gets high on home-cooked food. “Babloo, my cook, is the best chef after my wife. Though I am not much of a foodie, I relish Indian cuisine with Italian a close second in my list of favourites. Venue is by far the best Indian restaurant and Sicilian in Lokhandwala (Andheri) serves the best Italian food in Mumbai,” he says.

However when it comes to flying and staying in hotels on his business trips, Chaturvedi has clear-cut preferences. On the domestic sector he prefers Sahar and sticks to Cathay and British Airways for his trips abroad. He informs, “When you are flying on business you like to be pampered. All these airlines have excellent service. As far as stay is concerned, in Kolkota I prefer the Oberoi and for the rest of the country, the Taj.”

According to Chaturvedi, no country gives our kind of friendly and warm service. “Keeping with our ancient tradition of hospitality, the guest is always right. Abroad they know how to run a hotel but they can’t match our standards of service,” he says.

And no other city can match Mumbai in Chaturvedi’s opinion. Born and raised in Hatsar, a small town near Agra, his take on Mumbai is, “It’s a fantastic city with a wonderful work culture and opportunities.”