He hates to be compared with liquor baron Vijay Mallya, despite having few similarities like owning a liquor brand, living a lavish lifestyle and having properties in Goa. 33-year-old actor Sachiin Joshi is the new owner of the most controversial properties in India ie Kingfisher Villa. First-time ever after purchasing the Goa property, in an exclusive interview with Virendrasingh Ghunawat of India Today, Joshi explained why the Kingfisher Villa is the profitable deal for him and what are the plans. Excerpts:
Indiatoday.in: Since, last one year, SBI failed to auction Vijay Mallya's luxury house - Kingfisher Villa in Goa, thrice. Suddenly, Sachiin Joshi at the price of Rs 73 crore decides to buy Kingfisher Villa. What made you to purchase the most controversial property?
Sachiin: To be honest, I am in the business of hospitality. I keep buying properties, but none of them get noticed. As you rightly said, this is one of the most controversial properties in India, because of the status of Vijay Mallya and the way he dealt with the country and banking system. Honestly, I just went with the routine flow. I was surprised as well, why nobody bided during the auction process. When I contacted SBICap and my people contacted the bank officials, we went ahead with the process. I guess it was the part of destiny, I have to get it.
Indiatoday.in: Did you participated in the auction process or directly approached the bank?
Sachiin: When I read that the third auction has also failed, probably after that I told my people to contact SBI and check the details.
Indiatoday.in: Why didn't you try in the first auction itself?
Sachiin: I always thought, there would be buyers and takers. It would go for itself. And I think, I was travelling around that time, therefore, couldn't bid myself.
Indiatoday.in: Were you waiting let the auction price come down?
Sachiin: Not really. Honestly, there was no thought as such. The price I have brought is definitely a good price.
Indiatoday.in: Would it cost Rs 73 crore to you or more, if further taxes are added?
Sachiin: I think, it should be about Rs 85 crore (today's price)
Indiatoday.in: Looking at the present property rates in Goa, what would be the total valuation of Kingfisher Villa, as of now?
Sachiin: I think approximately Rs 125 - Rs 130 crore.
Indiatoday.in: A good business deal, no matter its controversial?
Sachiin: Yes. I guess. It is controversial, but definitely a good deal for me.
Indiatoday.in: Knowing that all investigative agencies and the central government are keeping a close tab on this case and related properties and knowing there would be an obvious comparison, after purchasing this property. How are you dealing with this comparison?
Sachiin: I don't think so. People do make obvious comparison. But there is no comparison between me and Mallya. He has an independent identity, I have my own unique identity. People make that comparison; I think that's the wrong on their part.
Indiatoday.in: Is this a property that could boost up your brand equity?
Sachiin: Honestly, you get noticed. When world is aware of something like this, it definitely gives you a boost in your thought process. As of now, the only thing, I have done is, I have to digest that I have acquired a property and start thinking, what I have to do next with it. So as of now, there are no plans as such. Eventually, with time, I will know it.
Indiatoday.in: Is it going to be business venture?
Sachiin: Don't know. I haven't thought about it.
Indiatoday.in: Off late, you have purchased stakes of Playboy Lifestyles. Are we going to see the further extension of Playboy franchisee in India?
Sachiin: I have acquired Playboy Lifestyles Company in India. The franchisee owner for India. It is mere coincidence that I am into alcohol business, having my own beer brand. Now Playboy Lifestyles, so what I would do with the property is just an assumption by all people.
Indiatoday.in: So it would not be the extension of Playboy Lifestyles?
Sachiin: To best of my knowledge, there is no relationship with Playboy.
Indiatoday.in: Is it true that Villa would be designed by Gauri Khan?
Sachiin: Shah Rukh Khan and his family are very dear to me. Gauri Khan has worked for the property before. Again, these are mere assumptions. But, if tomorrow, I need to redesign my house, I will call Gauri Khan to do it.
Indiatoday.in: Could you at least give an idea, what could be the possibility? What are the plans with Villa?
Sachiin: Obviously, I'm in the hospitality business. I enjoy properties, and I like to make lots of properties. Maintenance is always a big concern in large properties. If you are attached with this business, then you maintain a property and do business at a same time.
Indiatoday.in: Plan of converting it into a resort?
Sachiin: Could be. It could on the cards.
Indiatoday.in: Would you change the name of Villa? What would be that?
Sachiin: Nothing, as present. As of now it is just called Villa Sachiin Joshi.
Indiatoday.in: On Monday, you entered the Villa, first time after the purchase in your Lamborghini car, with complete police protection. Why you need a police protection?
Sachiin: The moment we got the possession of the property, my team went for the recce. They found certain kind of agitation outside the Villa. Certain things were thrown inside. There was some mob kind of situation. So it was suggested by our security team to be secure, as we were going in first time in that villa after purchasing it, especially with my wife. That was the only purpose.
Indiatoday.in: Do u think, people are bit jealous, because Mallya use to be quite popular around, especially near the Villa?
Sachiin: Jealousy is inevitable. It would always going to be there with everyone and at every walk of life. So it is something you need to cautious about, to deal with. That's what I do all the time. Instead of reacting, I try to see how much I could protect myself.
Indiatoday.in: In this entire deal, were the luxury cars of Mallya included?
Sachiin: Even I learnt it, eventually, that the deal was differentiated between movable and immovable properties. As of now, the deal with me is about immovable properties. But later, every movable properties inside would get sold by SBICap through DRT. For me, I am starting a new thought-process towards that property, so I want everything new in that premise.
Indiatoday.in: What is your signature style?
Sachiin: I think, style is something which gets evolved with time of an individual. I am an individual, I am unique. I would definitely bring in whatever experience I have, and whatever I enjoy. I would like to enjoy it, passionately. All of that would be translated with my business, with my family, with my upbringing and whatever I do for the world.
Indiatoday.in: What would you like to say to Mallya, if he would be reading this interview?
Sachiin: I don't know him as a person, to be honest. I would not want say anything. Sure, he must have done right and wrong in his life, and everybody has to go through what they have done for themselves. So, I wouldn't wanna say anything, because I don't know him. I would like to do that, only if I know him personally.
Indiatoday.in: When you last time entered the Villa, did you think that you would buy it?
Sachiin: It was either in 2005 or 2006. I looked the property. I found it unique and I appreciated it. I had thought that definitely tomorrow, if I need to build something, I should build something like this. I never knew I would get an opportunity to buy it.
Indiatoday.in: People say, even you live the similar lavish lifestyle, carry a good number of security guards with you and so on. How would you define your lifestyle?Sachiin: Lifestyle comes naturally. I have seen there are many people who have lots of money, but don't know how to use it. Lifestyle is something which is an individual choice. I like to dress up well, I like to take care of myself, and I like to do certain things in different way. I like to create a memory of lifestyle, because I believe life is more of a journey which needs to be enjoyed than thinking about the beginning and the end. All the time, we are all in the race of trying to achieve something or other. I think, one needs to be positive, stay focused. We need to achieve what we have desired, not at the cost of negativity, pain or any kind of sorrow. So that is the way I think, once you start implementing your thoughts in positive directions, it automatically helps you in developing your lifestyle.
Indiatoday.in: On technology aspect, you are working on one digital payment product. What is that?
Sachiin: After demonetisation, we have seen lot of changes in the space of digital payments, e-banking etc. I and my team are working on the product which could empower rural India. We are working on a module which is not just an e-banking or payment gateway, but it would be something to give an empowerment to use your money in a digital way. It is not something for which you have to depend on Internet, but work offline as well. We are developing such product and in next three months, we should be out in the market.
Indiatoday.in: In terms of property market, are you planning to expand only in Goa or other cities as well?
Sachiin: We have four hotels under construction. Delhi, Jaipur, Suburban of Mumbai i.e. Thane. In Goa, we are expanding on alcohol front. The industries that I develop or I work upon I am passionate about it. I enjoy whatever I do. That's the way I look at it. That's why alcohol, hotel, technology and acting as well. I started acting at the stage of 8 years.
Indiatoday.in: Don't you think, it's a bitter reality that people know you, more as a businessman and less as an actor?
Sachiin: No it is true. Because there is a limited time in every individuals life. I do cinema for passion. I work for passion. Definitely the business side gets more time than the cinema. When I was younger, I could balance more time to cinema, but not anymore. Even today, I am doing Cinema. I have set up a digital content division.
Indiatoday.in: So finally, when is the relaunch party of Kingfisher Villa?
Sachiin: More than anybody else, I am eager to throw a party for all my friends and family at the Villa. First, I have to recoup it, recover it, try and make it and give it my identity.
Indiatoday.in: Are you happy with this property (Villa) due to all sorts of controversies associated with it?
Sachiin: I don't see any reason why I should not be. You got a good business deal. Same time you have acquired a property which is known to the world, you have great plans to make something out of it. Yes, I am definitely happy.