Sushant Tari’s company is rated highly for set design and execution on the national canvas. His is a story of overcoming hurdles by sheer hard work and determination
The quest for career opportunities took Sushant Tari, an Art Director to his Karmabhoomi in Mumbai. The hunger to know and do ‘something’ helped him learn the tricks of the profession. The desire to do a business from one’s learning and instinct of survival has made him a successful entrepreneur in creating his brand TPT Production to the world. Nothing has come overnight for the man born in St. Estevam. Behind the thriving business, lies a story of struggle and consistent dedication by this first generation entrepreneur.
Sushant went to Mumbai (then Bombay) in 1990 after answering his final exam at Goa College of Arts. There, he worked with several art directors and event companies. He says, “There were many things I struggled with – right from not getting the due payment for my work, to someone else claiming credit for the work that I had done. I knew no one in Mumbai, but somehow I had decided to survive there.”
Sushant Tari began his business journey in 1998 when he started ‘The Production Terminus (TPT) Pvt Ltd’. Upon starting his company partnered with the events behemoth Fountainhead, who used to farm their projects to TPT Productions on regular basis. “For several years we worked for the same company and 90% of our projects were with them. However, now that share has come down considerably as we have managed to build a huge parallel client base. Finally, we are working on our own terms and choosing whom to work with,” says Sushant with a sense of achievement.
For Sushant, breakthroughs came when he decided to move to Mumbai itself. He elaborates, “It was an instinct of survival, after I left Goa. In Goa, there are too many things to fall back on, even if you don’t do anything for yourself, there is a support system in place – your relatives and friends. In Mumbai, you have to stand on your own legs and compete without anyone else pulling the strings for you. Every simple job you have to do yourself without depending on others.” He continued, “When I started approaching people for work in Mumbai, I realised that I know nothing and many people took advantage of that. Neither opportunities, nor success came overnight. This experience helped me create the professional in me. The more I worked, the more I realized how little I know and how much I was able to learn.”
Sushant says there are takers for ‘doers’ in Mumbai, and more so in his line of business – set designing, execution and events. “When you’re working for someone, it doesn’t matters from which background you come from. The only thing that matters is if you can execute the job given to you. That was how I started out in the maximum city. There’s no end to gaining educaion, you’re learning constantly, you understand the language of business, artistic elements that you come across. The more you get involved with your work, the wiser you get. You understand people management; your perspective widens, and subsequently you develop a sense of self-confidence,” he adds.
Sushant elaborates about his choice of Mumbai to work out from, “When I first started, the market was very limited and surviving in the Goan market was difficult. Secondly, there were fewer technicians in Goa trained in this field and it is not because there is lack of knowledge but the absence of practical exposure. The events business requires hands-on experience more than a degree to you prepare you for the job.”
Despite the limited market in Goa, Sushant has advice for young enthusiasts. “To get the exposure you have to get out of Goa. A minimum of 10 years’ experience outside Goa is essential in many professions. Then you can come and work in Goa. Another advantage of working outside is that you get to meet a lot of different people with different mindsets,” he adds. Sushant foresees the Goan market building up at a much quicker pace than before.
Sushant has built a strong foundation of confidence from his college projects and additional work experience over the years, all of which allowed him to take long strides in starting his own business. He put together a team of like-minded people with whom he shared similar educational backgrounds and set the business in motion. He continues, “My team has grown with me in the process of working for 20 years and more. We weren’t highly qualified in terms of traditional education when we first started; however, now with so many years of experience, we have executed projects which even highly qualified professionals tend to find difficult.”
Executing ideas: From paper to real life
Sushant explains several roles at TPT Productions and how they maintain perfect team co-ordination. He says, “The creative art director who works for me is a tech savvy person. We have ideators who take design briefs and suggest ideas; and skilled technicians who can execute any given job. Together, we collaborate thoughts and plan out the entire project. The biggest challenge lays in supervising the job and ensuring that that the work executed is exactly how the idea was conceived by our clients. The job involves creative execution. The basic idea is drawn on paper… to bring it to real life in a time-bound manner, is our forte. That is where we have earned our stripes,” says Sushant.
He elucidates, “When there are exclusive projects which need execution within a short time frame, clients prefer to work with us as they are assured of the service that we guarantee. This is something that has made TPT Production stand as the topmost set designing company in the country today. Our timely delivery, quality of work, safety net for our workers and total business focus has augured well for TPT Productions.” Despite making a name in executing projects efficiently within a short timeframe, TPT Productions like any other company still finds this a challenging task to do consistently. As Sushant says, “Executing a project within a small deadline is the biggest challenge and especially when it comes to mega projects. However, we have had no regrets as such quick executions have earned us maximum number of clients.”
Clashing of big events is not a new thing for TPT Productions. However, the company has made consistent progress in developing a team that can work on multiple projects at different locations. When it comes to regular clients for TPT Productions, the company has an idea about any given project five to six months prior to the date of the event. Sushant confidently states, “We are prepared for any such situation and can boast of our timely delivery. We execute big projects just as efficiently as the small projects; there is no scope for mistakes irrespective of the scale of the project.”
The core team of TPT Productions is always on the move. Although Sushant himself can’t be present at all events all the time, he makes sure to visit the site at least once. Apart from that, he is involved in every project at the planning level and set designs. The team at TPT Productions enjoys working in Goa. Sushant explains, “We definitely enjoy working in Goa as this is my birthplace. We worked on a project for the International Film Festival of India in 2014 in Goa. I received much appreciation for the work. Goans tend to relate better to the work done by someone they know personally.”
TPT Productions participates in the Global Design Exhibitions which exposes them to international projects as well. Sushant says, “When companies request the design upon visiting our stall at the exhibitions, our team in Mumbai instantly works on these. After approvals, we then work towards the execution with the assistance of local technicians.” He continues, “There have been certain instances where the entire core team visits the foreign location and works on completing the grand projects. TPT has created sets for the World Economic Forum at Davos in Switzerland. Besides other automobiles and pharmaceutical exhibitions.”
Working on the Sets
TPT Productions is strategically located in Mumbai, with Bombay Exhibition Centre (BEC) in close vicinity, which has its advantages. The company is planning to open new branches in Delhi and South India. Despite not having an official branch, the company works extensively at such locations. Annually, the company takes up to 50-60 projects; however the mega projects are in the range of 8-10 per year. TPT Productions Pvt Ltd offers services in Customized Designing, Fabrication and Production, Installation/Setup and Dismantling, Furniture for the stall, TV/Fridge/Coffee Machine/Water Dispenser etc, Logistics and Transport across the country, Manpower co-ordination, Printing of graphics/panels, 3D laser cutting etc.
TPT Productions has been able to design certain events which were unforgettable in public memory. The BMW electric car i8 launch was one of such events, which in return got many clients for the company. Sushant expresses the dominance TPT Productions has on the automobile industry. He says, “There are several event management companies in the automobile sector vying for mega car launch events. The company that receives the contract for such projects changes every time; however these event companies in the end, approach us for the project execution.”
Then events like BRICS 2016 which took place in Goa, was a project executed by TPT Productions. Sushant considers BRICS as one of the projects that he is proud to be associated with.
When asked about competitors, Sushant says, “Being a Goan, and going to Mumbai as a first generation businessman, I had my own limitations. We have grown from nothing and within that we aspire to grow even further without thinking much about the competitors in our business.”
But he sure admits that the world is seeing more competition due to coming of new technologies. “There are many changes that we see in day to day operations due to technological advancements. The speed at which things function now and the way people embrace technology is a paradigm shift in attitude. To fulfil such demands we invest a lot in upgrading our technology.”
The Int’l Film Festival of India 2014
Sushant Tari’s sets for the International Film Festival of India 2014 was an unforgettable sight to every Goan. This also won him an award the next year at the hands of I&B Secretary Sunil Arora at a fully-packed Shyama Prasad Mukherjee stadium.
I don’t mind losing a project to a healthy competitor as long as they display good work; and the competition is on a level playing field – Sushant Tari
Disappointed for not bagging the IFFI contract for the following years, Sushant said, “We as TPT Productions, had understood the importance of the occasion; and we went out of our way – even sacrificing on the commercial aspects, to ensure that Goa gets the best out of IFFI. I can say that our work was complementing the event. People were overwhelmed with our work and we received fantastic goodwill and publicity due to our work. Those having a visual sense of the project, complimented us lavishly. And they were proud that a Goenkar had done that work. We had got the IFFI work order on 9th and we executed the project on 17th of the same month.” He added that, “IFFI is one project which we feel that we should get every year; so we can exhibit our art to fellow Goans irrespective of the party that’s there in the government. Having said that, I don’t mind losing the project to a healthy competitor as long as they display good work.”
Business Goa Awards
Sushant Tari speaks about his association with Business Goa Magazine, “Business Goa is a leading magazine in Goa and Harsh is my personal friend. From the magazine, I get to read even about really small businesses in Goa. The magazine tells many inspirational stories. When I got to know about the good work Harsh was doing in encouraging local entrepreneurs and giving them recognition – I myself approached Harsh and volunteered to do the sets for the Business Goa Awards. He was happy and complimented me for that.”
Sushant Tari narrates an incident, which he believes, changed his life. He narrates, “In 1996, we had got a project in Mumbai which had to be completed on a short notice and within a few days. We lacked experience then. I started the project and without sleeping or eating or doing anything else, I completed that project before the event started. My senior partner who was there with me had left the location thinking that it was not possible to complete the project. He himself was shocked when he saw the project completed. Before leaving the site, he had told me and other few technicians that ‘Even if Gods come down, they won’t be able to save this project.’ I think that one project created me.”
Despite being the big businessman of the stature that he is, Sushant Tari doesn’t shy away from getting himself immersed into certain projects. He states the reason behind it, “Having been an artist myself, there are certain things which need to happen according to what we plan. For many people, this is just a job. And many a times, it’s not like ‘I will do only what you have told me to do’, Sometimes we have to go beyond the brief. We get our payment all the times; but when our client pays us with complete satisfaction, you know the difference. Such projects, mutually makes everyone happy, further that client recommends 10 other clients to work with us.”
Sushant says everyone has to face the critics throughout their career. However, in the initial years, they are harshest when you have no credentials to your name. In such times, taking them positively is the only way ahead for any person. “When you have proved your worth about what you can do, then the critics don’t matter as you are confident in yourself and in your abilities,” says Sushant.
TPT Productions is quite active in their CSR activities in Goa as well as in Mumbai, they do their bit whatever possible. Sushant says, “We contribute to society in whatever best possible way we can. We do many small projects for schools without charging them; and then they send handwritten notes thanking us. That gives me immense happiness.”
Sushant is thankful to all the people that he has met in his journey. Especially, he recalls the people he met during student agitations in college where he was Chairman of student council for two consecutive years.
Humble yet confident. Simple yet street smart. Always in search of knowledge, Sushant Tari is still hoping to do ‘something’ that he set out for