Let There Be Light — But Which One

Updated: May 26 2002, 05:30am hrs
How many reasons does it take to change a light bulb Easy. But it does take more than a single answer if you have to buy the right one. The brand, wattage and colour must be clarified before a choice is made.

Actually, be it an innocuous little night lamp or that beautiful chandelier you were saving up for, no buying decision is easy once you’ve taken a cursory look at the wide variety of lights available in the market. Especially in Mumbai.

Bajaj Electricals Ltd (BEL) is one of the leading lighting companies in India. Tapan Sampat, the company’s publicity officer, says consumers ask for a light bulb by its brand name. “They also ask for the type of bulb they want, soft or milky. Wattage is clearly mentioned—usually people buy 40- or 60-watt bulbs. Colour preferences largely remain white or yellow,” he explains.

Mr Sampat says consumers should keep their basic lighting needs in mind whether they are buying light bulbs, tubelights or fancy chandeliers. “The size of the room and the type of room, whether it is a bedroom or living room, come first. Consumers then need to decide what kind of light they need, apart from bearing in mind the colour of their wall-paint and their furniture. Of course, the budget they have set aside will also dictate what kind of light they buy,” he says.

Much of the tubelight segment goes to Philips and Crompton Greaves. Philips India did not comment for this story. Crompton Greaves, although it manufactures an array of lights for industrial and commercial uses, is best known for its domestic lighting. “In particular, the company manufactures attractive tubelights with end covers in different colours,” says Sushil of Shree Nursinghay Mudungopal, a major stockist of Crompton’s products in Mumbai. “These tubelights come in a variety of classifications, like Supergold, Cromjewel, Silverline, Prismline, Jubilee, Mirrorlite and Sparkler,” he adds.

However, Bajaj or Crompton does not manufacture fancy lights or chandeliers. For those looking for more than a routine light replacement, this need for decorative lighting is filled by companies like Kapoor Lamp Shades and Litolier.

Kapoor Lamp Shades, in particular, is a market leader in this segment. This 50-year-old company has gained quite a reputation for its designs and style. It has a vast range of indoor and outdoor decorative lights and lamp shades. There are exclusive chandeliers plated with 24-carat gold, and others available in a wide range of colours. Kapoor’s wide distribution network that spans the country has added to its client list many five-star hotels and top corporates.

“Although our company manufactures and imports decorative lights and fixtures for offices, hotels, resorts and clubs, residential lighting forms a very important customer base,” says M Shabbir, general manager, Kapoor Lamp Shades. The company offers 500 designs in decorative lighting at any given time.

Its products have a reputation for being elitist and high-priced, though Mr Shabbir says their ware costs upwards of an affordable Rs 500. “Most of our clients do come from the upper class, but we cater to all segments. While I would not wish to place their names on record, leading industrialists, film stars and sportsmen buy from us,” he says. “Even the country’s topmost interior designers like Zarine Khan, Hafeez Contractor, Micky Channa and Neetu Kohli source our products for the homes or commercial spaces they are designing.”

Litolier is another company that manufactures high quality, exclusive lights and chandeliers. Its client base from the early days lists former president Shankar Dayal Sharma, the late Sanjay Gandhi and actress Nargis Dutt, as well as popular actresses Jaya Bachchan, Rekha and Zeenat Aman. The managing director of the company, Neeru Mittal, agrees that its consumer base largely forms the upper strata of society that has an upmarket lifestyle and a high disposable income.

Well, so you probably save up to buy a good thing.