passion and perseverance, not necessarily in that order, characterise
the entire persona of Vijay J Lazarus, president and managing
director, Universal Music, discovers Charmaine Fernz
isnt the cliched rags to riches success story, its
about ragas to riches, about taking your passions seriously
and making it your Universe. This is exactly what the president
& managing director of Universal Music, Vijay J Lazarus
did, as he virtually created music divas just by following
his inner voice.
Pretty much a one thing led to another sequence
of events initiated Lazarus into the world of music. Back
in the 1970s, in his position of president of the Rotary Club,
he approached Polydor, a reputed music company as a prospective
sponsor for a music programme the Club was organising. In
his interaction with the managing director, he not only managed
the sponsorship but also landed himself a job as he completely
floored the MD with his concept and diligence. A strategic
step at the time, as the music industry would certainly offer
growth prospects. Down the years Lazarus grew consistently
with the company assuming the title of MD in the 1990s and
is currently the president and managing director. He has basically
seen the company through its the years as it changed from
Polydor to Music India to Polygram and now Universal. He has
also contributed to ingenious solo singers becoming icons
in their realms. The likes of Pankaj Udhas and Peenaz Masani
have been introduced to their fan followings during his long
standing career. In fact it wouldnt be an exaggeration
to say that he has almost created an audience for the Ghazal
and Bhajan genre of music.
has the highest comfort level, with its countryside ambience,
unassuming lifestyle and of course – theatre’
its certainly not been a journey of all work and no play for
Lazarus as he played lead Opera roles such as that of the
famous Oliver, and Robin Hood in his scholastic days. Hes
also been quite a "player" strictly with the implication
of being a sport. Hes been part of the national bandwagon
of cricket fanatics and has made it to the inter-collegiate
level although he sighs he couldnt be a part of the
national cricket team. But while he couldnt take cricket
to the national level he tried his hand at tennis, football
and hockey. Tennis he follows to a great extent and has been
to the Wimbledon on two occasions with his wife.
So does Universals MDs cosmos revolve around music
Not a chance. Travelling is the unprecedented numero uno among
his varying interests. Travelling through his thoughts, he
humourously remarked, "As a family we have travelled
so extensively that my son was once asked if collecting visas
was his hobby. I basically believe that travel is an education
in itself. I travel a great deal on business but I simply
love to take time out and travel."
wife and (extreme right) daughter
a reminiscent note, he very fondly says, "One of our
most memorable vacations would be in Yugoslavia, in this town
called Prates Lava, which is on the other side of Venice.
Beauty is in abundance, everything so natural, even the habitat,
flora and fauna. It was extremely rustic in comparison to
the sophistication of Venice." As someone who has to
travel long distances as a result of his position what he
appreciates the most when travelling is the feeling of "home".
In fact when travelling in India, he tends to patronise the
Taj group as he feels that they bring out the essence of Indianness.
Even the cuisine at the Taj hotels, he says, is essentially
Indian. When travelling overseas he isnt particularly
difficult but in-flight cuisine often poses a problem. However,
he feels in-flight services on an average have ameliorated
significantly in most airlines,especially Swiss, Lufthansa,
KLM, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways and Malaysian Airlines.
In terms of places, London, he says has the highest comfort
level, with its countryside ambience and unassuming lifestyle
and of course - theatre. "New York always leaves me amazed
with its pulsating rhythm. Among the other places that I prefer
are Australia and the Far East. Within India nothing compares
to the beauty of the backwaters of Kerala and the evergreen
charisma of Kashmir. Of course the real joy in experiencing
places is with the family, he says.
So what is the driving force behind devoting endless hours
at work, spending quality time with the family and pursuing
his varied diversions. The answer was prompt and straight
from the heart, " I have drawn complete strength in experiencing
life through my faith in the Almighty."