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Building Blocks Of Success

Hiranandani is a name synonymous with beautiful homes. Homes that combine style with comfort. An architect of his own dreams, Niranjan Hiranandani, head of Hiranandani Constructions, chats with Reema Sisodia about his passion for building communities.

The man is on the move, quite literally too. As I make my way to meet Niranjan Hiranandani, managing director of Hiranandani Constructions Private Limited, I am told that he is on his customary morning round when he meets his staff - right from the shop floor level to the higher executives.

His secretary requests me to wait in his chamber for a few minutes and sure enough he is with me in a few moments. He arrived actively in conversation with one of his project heads as he headed towards his well-designed office, not forgetting however to acknowledge my presence and apologise for the delay.

I overheard the dialogue; he was speaking firmly but clearly about the importance of being a performer and a go-getter, the responsibility that comes with authority and the necessity of being humble while being assertive. This was not, of course, orchestrated because there was no need to and the proceeding interview proved this.

So even before I had started questioning him, I had already figured some intrinsic aspects about him - he was a firm believer in delegation of work which led to staff empowerment. He has definitely mastered the art of getting things done.

Story So Far

Niranjan Hiranandani is the son of Padmabhushan Dr L H Hiranandani, an icon in the field of medicine. With a family background where foundations are based on education and professional specialisation, it is surprising to find the name Hiranandani achieving milestones in real estates.

He entered the business of construction along with his younger brother Surendra Hiranandani and the blessings and vision of his father. This was in the early 1980s, at a time when words like ‘real estate’, ‘construction’ and 'builders' was a taboo. Hiranandani says, “The early years were tough indeed, especially since our business was not regarded or respected the way it is today. A builder was considered like an underworld don and educated professionals would rarely go that way. The journey was hard but what was harder was the attempt to bring in the respect and professionalism in the business of real estate; to convert a black industry into white.”

Today, the Hiranandani Group is one of India's leading developers of mixed-use communities that has diversified into entertainment, call centres, hospitality, retail and healthcare. The company has over 3,000 acres under development for mixed-use and employs 6,000 workers including 1,000 engineers. In addition, the group is also responsible for employing a further 3,000 people in its hospitals, retail outlets, hotels and entertainment complexes. The person at the helm of these affairs is of course Niranjan Hiranandani who has his fingers right on the pulse of the industry.

Niranjan Hiranandani has made a name for himself by creating two top- of-the-line housing projects - the Hiranandani Gardens in the suburb of Powai in Mumbai and the Hiranandani Estate at Thane. He has also taken active interest in championing the cause of the construction industry and attempting to bring about transparency and professionalism in the operations of the industry. He is also the vice president of Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry, a leading industry body that is taking the lead to bring about changes in the industry.

They were the first to enter Powai - then a rocky quarry land with barren hills and devoid of any infrastructure - and convert it into what is today known as the Hiranandani Gardens, Powai.

In Reminiscence

Clearing two piles of books that is blocking our view, he tells me, “Today, if you are a performer the world is in your pocket.”

A head boy of his school, Campion in Mumbai, this qualified CA learned his skills on the way. But he gives all the credit for the person he is today to his father. "My dad is my greatest critique and my inspiration. Humility, equality, secularism and the art of people relationships is what I have learned from him. We still continue to have our father-son talk whenever I am at home."

On the other side of spectrum are his two children who are settled in two different ends of the globe. "My son is in Dubai busy with our tallest international residential project while my daughter looks after her company Zenta in Philadelphia," he adds proudly.

Travel is therefore a natural offshoot, both for business and pleasure. He enjoys a stopover at London to catch up with friends or taking time off to drop in to the Swiss Alps and thinks New York is a lot of fun. But his US visits now are concentrated mainly to Philadelphia. “I even cherish a quiet getaway to our very old Mahabaleshwar with my family. Holidays for me is only about relaxing and taking it easy.”

Ask him which destination he hasn't visited but would love to go and he says, "In India, I would love to visit the North East and Ranthambore. Internationally, it would have to be Australia and New Zealand."

Quirks And Some Such

One thing that he is yet to deal with and which gets him a little stressed is his uncanny habit of losing things while travelling. He says, "This is one habit I just can't overcome. I once left my passport in the hotel room and checked out."

That's not all; he has experienced situations that can only be termed as a business traveller's nightmare. "My luggage got exchanged with someone else's that had lingerie in it. Luckily, my wife was present when I opened it and saved me from the embarrassment," he exclaims turning a slight shade of red.

While he is an ardent traveller all the way, he detests anything that interferes with his schedule like his diet and exercise. "It is tough to be disciplined while travelling and I tend to pack in too much in the time I have when I'm away," he confesses adding, "But I do try and walk around in the area I am whenever possible while travelling. I believe that it is the best way to understand the culture and peculiarity of a place."

He is also a regular visitor at Gold's Gym. He reveals, "I was quite fat about a year ago. But I managed to knock off nine kilos in a year all thanks to the gym and my protein diet designed by my daughter."

Scheduled to go on a cruise to Laskwadweep a few days after this interview, Hiranandani is probably back after stumbling over an idea of building a residential tower in the middle of the sea - because “real estate is the best investment and even if the prices fall, you can still live in it and give it to your children”.

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