Anil Ambani unplugged

Updated: Sep 19 2003, 05:30am hrs
Its not too often that demi-God Sachin Tendulkar loses out to another Indian in the popularity sweepstakes. Yet, thats exactly what vice-chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries, Anil Ambani, managed to do when he emerged as the Indian youths icon of the year recently.

After Mr Ambani admitted to BB that the MTV Youth Icon tag makes him feel 10 years younger in body and spirit, we got him to disclose his take on music. Refreshingly, the business icon not only listens to music but watches MTV too, certainly a class apart from the CNBCs, CNNs and BBCs that he tunes into regularly! When with his kids for company, he says, he catches up with the MTV show Bakra.

What is life without music, it calms you and lifts your spirits, says a philosophical Mr Ambani. So, he has a tiny transistor tucked away in the corner of his office, which continuously and unobtrusively plays away numbers from Mumbais FM stations. Neither does he miss a chance to catch up on good melodies while travelling in his car or at home.

Mr Ambanis taste in music is a function of his mood and the moment. On his run on the streets of Mumbai, for instance, he plugs into his MP3 player and listens to peppy tunes and while relaxing, hes partial to soft melodies. Passionate as he is about old Hindi film songs, especially the soul-rendering love songs, Mr Ambani believes that their melody, lyrics and rhythm are unique and unmatched even today. Interestingly, the tune that you may catch him humming frequently is from wife (and former Bollywood heroine) Tinas flick, Karz the beautiful and haunting melody, Ek haseena thi, ek deewana tha.

A great fan of Billy Joel during his Wharton years, Mr Ambani is currently big on Lata Mangeshkar, Adnan Sami, Sonu Nigam, Hariharan, Sunidhi Chavan, Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson. He admits that his taste in music has evolved over the years, and certainly doesnt qualify as a purist, fond as he is of remixes which are a fusion of the old and the new.

His passion for music extends to good systems as well hot favourites being Nakamichi, followed by Bang & Olufsen and Bose. A regular with music concerts, the recent Rolling Stones concert in Mumbai failed to enthuse him initially, he discloses. It actually took a fair bit of persuasion on the part of his children and friends to pull him to the venue, but he did return extremely impressed with Mick Jaggers fitness!

He also recalls the Yanni concert at the Acropolis. In both these performances there was drama, passion and emotion, he says. Clearly, not just a super-achiever, Mr Ambani scores well on his music quotient too!