His career in the events industry began as a commerce student at the S. S. Dempo College of Commerce & Economics where his exposure to college events, strengthened his passion of converting it into a full-fledged career
My father was working in Delhi for Airtel, where I interned for three months, which later got converted into a job for five years, in 2008,” says Upendra Pai Raikar, the proprietor of Conquer Events.
The experience of these years in the national capital gave him an edge, to learn the ups and downs of the industry. “I learned everything, right from how to deal with the top vendors of India, to meeting and interacting with celebrities. I also paid attention to the technology used a events – I gathered knowledge about 3D mapping, hydraulics, pyro effects, revolving stage, laser show, fog curtain, cold pyro techniques, colour smoke, huge ice sculpture, etc and today, we provide an array of options to make an event standout,” he adds.
In 2013, Upendra returned home and worked with the local event management companies, to gain an insight into the Goan market. In August 2016, Conquer Events was founded, and there was no looking back for this young lad.
From birthdays to NRI destination weddings, from corporate conferences to traditional thread ceremonies, Conquer Events undertakes it all. Upendra strongly believes that décor can be created by anybody. But giving the client a unique idea to make their celebration memorable makes all the difference.
“It’s the simple things that matter. My forte lies in conceptualizing and curating special events. One of the recent events we did, the thread ceremony of Yatish Dempo’s son, had a flower girl and a musician on flute welcoming the family onto the stage. Every table top piece was custom made to suit the occasion. Your clients notice, and along with the client, everybody else too,” states Upendra.
This new age thinker introduced the concept of ‘half birthdays’. Elaborating on the same, he says “When the baby is born, it becomes difficult to throw a grand celebration as the baby is too small. And by the time it is his first birthday; it is too late and gets difficult for the parents to create a limited guest list. Hence, a half birthday at six months serves the purpose and is ideal for all.”
Conquer events’ first mega event was the ‘Jai Ho Draw’ by the Magsons Group during the home and lifestyle exhibition in October 2016. This was followed by a national conference on bridging the mental health in association with Sangath in December 2016. The company also facilitates the service of artist as well as celebrity management and houses an office in Delhi, thus catering to clients nationally.
Upendra has worked with renowned artistes in the industry, right from Shankar Mahadevan to Sonu Nigam, Malaika Arora, Niraj Shridhar, Boman Irani, Kashmira Shah, Pankaj Udhas, Suchitra Pillai, etc. At a local level, Conquer Events has received immense support from DJ Ajit Pai and his family.
“Till date, there is an ambiguity about what event management is all about. But the new generation and youngsters are fast catching up on the intensity of planning an event to the minutest of details. Right from the Mehendi, Haldi, Sangeet and Wedding, each celebration can be made into a grand affair. Event management is an art, it requires dedication and is a well-coordinated team effort,” he adds.
Having been in the industry for more than a decade now, Upendra’s most unforgettable moment was during his first days in the industry, when he had to facilitate a college event of a crowd of around 5,000 in Gwalior, called the ‘Bombay Rockers Show’. “It took us two days for the set-up and right on the afternoon of the event, the wind swept off every effort that we had put in. The client panicked and was tensed, but we didn’t give up. We pooled in all our contacts, gathered every resource possible, brainstormed, and the show started an hour late from the scheduled time, but it was totally worth it!” Upendra fondly recollects.
There have been many players in the industry, but the one that thinks out of the box, survives. Upendra’s experiences and exposure in Delhi have made it easier for him to execute all sorts of ideas in Goa. Right from a simple entry in a vintage car for the bridal couple, to the entry on a bike accompanied by fireworks, to the couple being introduced to the crowd from a height of a 150 ft crane. Conquer events specializes in all sorts of special effects.
Upendra believes that the key to making any event a success lies in the detailing. The entire event may be that of a smaller budget, but what is it that you are giving to the client, that the others cannot? What is your uniqueness and how will it add value to the client’s event? “I believe that if you want to have a successful career, you need to have a dream. Whether it is big or small is secondary.
One key person responsible for shaping up and making Conquer events’ dream come, or in Upendra’s words, his ‘godfather’, is Arvind Desai. “I was not academically inclined, and back then we had no proper career guidance either. There was the utmost focus given on the traditional streams of science and commerce. Slowly, the field of arts picked up as a first choice to make a career in, and today, every artist from the vocational field is valued, be it a tattooist, a mehendi artist, or even a photographer. It is Mr Desai who pushed me to follow my passion for events and till date, I am grateful for his encouragement and support,” states Upendra.
“There have been late nights, stressful projects, and times when I have not been able to give enough time to the family. Overall, my parents have been extremely supportive and patient towards my profession. For me, everyday is a challenge as today, there is so much competition. But I believe in hard work. I would like to tell the students, take up what you like. Let your passion triumph over your need to earn a stable salary. Don’t force yourself into a profession for the mere sake of a certificate,” he concludes