A qualified pilot and a trained bartender, this fitness freak can even surprise you by singing old Shammi Kapoor numbers at your wedding if you count him as a close friend. What then is Amit Burman doing at the helm of a multi-crore empire, selling fruit juices and planning a chain of restaurants?
“I like to stay in shape, work out five times a week, spend hours playing Monopoly with my kids and generally eat healthy,” he says. But first things first. It was in 1996 that a 20-something Burman returned to India with an array of degrees to join the family business. “I kept doing more courses so that I could stay abroad longer, but in the end I guess I received the marching-back orders,” he jokes.The first few months at Dabur weren’t fun, though. “I was a bit lost and just floated around looking at different divisions. Then, I had this idea to launch fruit juices, which were 100 per cent real, since I realised that one didn’t have packed fresh juices in India,” he recalls.
Born: In Kolkata, July 16, 1969
Family: Mother Asha, wife Divya and children Diya and Adhiraj
Educated: St Columba’s, Lee High University, Columbia University and Cambridge University
First job: In 1992 at Tishcon in the US
First salary: $1,000 per month
Music: Cranberries, U2, alternative rock
Favourite film: Godfather
Hobbies: Travelling, working out, swimming, flying planes
Food: Italian, Japanese
Favourite drink: Vodka with soda
Best advice: Believe! Trust your team
Personal mantra: Live life kingsize
For a couple of years, the ‘Real’ brand didn’t do that well. “But well, I was family. So I couldn’t really be sacked, could I?” he laughs. Today, the foods division has revenues of Rs 300 crore and Burman is rightfully proud of his achievement. Is he a health food freak, then? “Not really. My weekends are sinful. I gorge on pizzas and pasta and hang out with friends at the Polo Lounge or at 360 degrees. And I do enjoy my glass of Grey Goose vodka with soda,” he says.Fitness is another matter altogether. Burman works out at his state-of-the-art home gym five times a week and a trainer helps him do weights. He also dresses smart. “I wear Zara shirts and love Ravi Bajaj suits. After dark, it’s usually a Prada or a Gucci,” he says, adding that he also has a collection of shoes—some of them in red, blue and yellow.
Amit’s day out
Plays a bit with his children before they head off to school
9.30 a. m.
Leaves for office. Breakfast consists of an apple, which he eats in the car
9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
At work. Busy with meetings and regular updates on projects.
Works out for an hour at his home gym.
Sauna and a shower
Spends an hour playing Monopoly with children. Daughter Diya plays the guitar, so, he listens to her strumming away.
Dinner with the family at home unless there’s a party to attend.
Things are getting interesting, I tell myself, as we focus on some great chicken teriyaki. What sort of food does he like? “Italian and Japanese,” he replies without a pause, adding: “But I like trying out new cuisines whenever I travel.” Greece is one place he would love to go back to, having fallen in love with the magical islands. And if there’s a dream destination, it has to be Rio in Brazil.
Burman has many passions. “We now have a company, which will distribute new world wines. Personally, I love the Tuscan red wines,” he reveals. He also has a chain of restaurants called Street Foods of India.
Hasn’t he ever done anything that’s wild and fun? Burman chuckles. “Oh, quite a lot actually. In the US, I learnt the art of bartending in Kansas. My parents didn’t know, of course,” he laughs. What else? “Well, I have done the catwalk a couple of times and if you are lucky, you can spot me at a party wearing yellow shoes,” he says. Now that’s really cool.
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