The recent entry of liquor baron Vijay Mallya in the field of Cricktainment known as DLF IPL League has generated some comic confusion, an activity which has been the hall mark of Mallya’s style of functioning. The business tycoon whose name figures two steps ahead of the magical figure of 666 in the Forbes list of billionaires is known for his eat drink and enjoy lifestyle (if you can afford it). Having inherited a conglomerate of motley companies at the age of 28 years Mallya’s fortunes climbed steeply in course of next two decade to make him owner of some of the most sought after territories in liquor trade. But it has also brought in public domain his confusing and contradictory approach to issues of consequence.
Dr. (?) Mallya true to his spend thrift image purchased ( or assembled) the second costliest team ($111.6 millions) of Indian cricketers in the IPL T20 tournament. It seems that the business baron who proudly acclaims (when you board the Kingfisher aircraft and switch on the mini TV set) that every airhostess in his Kingfisher Airlines has been personally selected by him to treat the passengers as his personal guests was a bit indiscreet this time since his golden team did not display similar devotion to the cause of it’s master and seems to be gravitating towards the bottom of the pit under it’s weight . Mallya reacted promptly and sacked Charu Sharma “CEO” of the team- a commentator whose adornment with this corporate style assignment was decision of Vijay Bhai himself. Dr. Mallya as expected is trying salvage some part of his reputation as producer of world famous liquor brands and breeder of winner race horses with the information that he had left the selection to Chru and Rahul Dravid who selected a test team instead of a team suited for the abbreviated version of the game. Later when another team member Anil Kumble came out in defence of captain Rahul Dravid, Mallya further backtracked and came out to defend team coach.The team despite the changes and fire fighting efforts continues to loose.
Mallya watchers would however contest his contention and recall that he is a man who is inconsistent even while reporting his family roots .While the Wilkipedia reports his place of birth as some obscure town in Karnataka and Calcutta as his place of education, Mallya in an interview to journo Anjali Rao given at his Kingfisher Villa (is it not encroaching on Coastal Regulatory Zone ???) at Goa keenly painted himself as a Goan apparently to reinforce his colorful image. Mallya hardly known for any philanthropic projects, once reported to have spent Rs.1.5 Crs. to purchase a sword belonging to Karnataka warrior king Tipu Sultan in a Sotheby auction at London , for restoring the sword to the motherland. However strangely his wife and family contrary to his patriotic leanings remain ensconced in USA as their home place . About the doctorate which adorns his name, there are apprehensions that it is from a disputed source.
While the blogs promoted by his group rightly praise his genius as a business man , there is a only a subdued reference to his disastrous performance at another sunken ship -the long forgotten Janata Dal of which Mallya is president apparently even now. Having taken over the mantle of Janata Dal President from Subramaniam Swami in the year 2003 he fielded candidates for 20 (unlucky no. for him?) seats for Karntaka Assembly elections. Unfortunately his choice of candidates at that time was total failure since every one from his party lost.
What Dr. Mallya perhaps needs to understand is that while the selection of horses , hostesses and hot calendar models can be made on visual appreciation of certain features , selection of a sports team or political representatives for an election campaign requires tactical skills and intellectual proficiency of a different nature. There are other investors also whose teams are not that successful but they are not complaining because a good businessman should also have a good shock absorption mechanism and in difficult times should wait for the tide to turn.