Their social media profiles may resemble The Rich Kids of Instagram but our 3 young cover personalities are enterprising and inspiring millennials who will stop at nothing to achieve what they set out to do. Presenting for the first-time ever, 3 of Chennai’s youngest successful businessmen on the cover of South India’s largest lifestyle magazine, RITZ.
Photographs: Ganesh Toasty
Location: Feathers Hotel
Styling: Sunil Karthik (Team Rehane)
Special thanks to leading fashion designer Rehane for her inputs and ideas
Hair and Makeup: Page 3 Luxury Salon and Makeover Studio, Khader Nawaz Khan Road, Chennai
Desi Dan The Business Man – Thirukumaran Roopkumar
Thirukumaran Roopkumar hails from a family that is steeped in the business fabric of Tamilnadu. So when he says, “It’s not about making it, the key is maintaining it,” you know it harks back to the values he was raised with. Still, not one to hop on solely to the family business bandwagon, Thiru, as the handsome 25-year-old businessman is fondly called, has started his own venture TRK Global which has just forayed into the sports arena among other fields. Quizzing one of Chennai’s most eligible bachelors on a range of topics from his expansion plans to workout routine and his charm offensive with the ladies, Diya Subramanian captures this spicy chat.
2017 has started off as a blockbuster year for Thiru with the launch of his venture ‘Turf 137’ football arena which guarantees a five-star experience for footballers. The idea struck him over a casual conversation with friends and today stands transformed into South India’s finest of its kind, for which Thiru has spared no expense to ensure comfort and safety for players. The turf area is FIFA-approved and imported from Amsterdam; this is in stark contrast to the cement flooring underneath turfs at most arenas, which could lead to injuries in the long term. “People start playing football as early as 4 years of age. I don’t want my customers to hit age 40 with knee problems and multiple injuries because the turf they started out on compromised on quality. The highest standards of quality adherence is an essential in any business I do.” The space for Turf 137 comes from one of Thiru’s sprawling homes where the family used to live before they moved to their current residence in Adyar.
As a business proposition, Turf 137 has already received a fair share of interest from potential franchisees. Thiru says, “Yes, we are planning to franchise; we already have three offers that we are considering.”
As we chat further sitting in the plush and verdant environs of Chennai’s poshest club, The Madras Club, I can’t help but notice the number of older people who walk up to Thiru and exchange pleasantries with him with a lot of fondness. “Guys my age usually spend time with those in similar age groups but I am a total people person. I’ve always been a good listener and I take keen interest in the lives of people I interact with.”
Thiru’s friends call him Desi Dan, after the American Instagram superstar Dan Bilzerian.
The topic takes us back to his family and Thiru’s eyes light up when he talks about the man who he adores and is inspired by – his grandfather. “People tell me I was born with a golden spoon. But my family never believed in spoiling me with privileges. My upbringing has been quite grounded and rooted in culture. For instance, my grandfather always taught me to be humble. He was in fact the man who was instrumental in making SPIC a formidable industrial giant in those days. Despite the 20,000-strong workforce, my granddad was the kind of leader who would know the security guard at the gate by name. I admire him for the respect with which he treated others which they reciprocated to him multifold.” Considering his family legacy, Thiru learnt the trappings of business at the family’s polyurethane foam manufacturing unit. “That was my first job. We manufacture mattresses, cushions and foam for the domestic and automobile sector. I also dabbled in our real estate business and in the textile sector, where we are one of the largest manufacturers for H&M in addition to supplying to Diesel, Hanes and other international brands.”
So what prompted him to branch away on his own instead of staying put in familiar well-heeled territory? “I still run the fabric export division in the textile business. But I started TRK Global because I have always been a guy who is independent – I have always wanted to stand on my own feet. There is tremendous expectation from me, in terms of my success in business given my family’s goodwill. Well, what can I say? I am all for challenges and meeting those expectations!” So what is the future for TRK Global? “Next up for us in the short term is a couple of bars in Chennai – high-end and upscale. The future for TRK Global would be in the fields of Energy, Construction and Real Estate.”
But a little birdie told us that Thiru has already been offered acting roles and is considering them. So where does cinema fit into his game plan? Thiru laughs, “I have always had a fascination for Tamil movies since 8th grade. I have always loved acting, it’s a passion I have never explored. Yes there have been offers but the timing has never been right. I have always been groomed for business so before I decide to sign on for a movie, I would definitely like to stabilise my new ventures. Acting is definitely on the cards though. Even at my workplace, I am constantly goaded by my team to get into movies. They even tell me they will be my fan club president, secretary etc.(laughs)!”
Tough indeed to resist so much temptation and pressure.
But taking it slow with regard to an acting career hasn’t stopped Thiru from dating actresses, as we hear that he has been been romantically involved with at least 2 South Indian heroines. So how can one interview one of Chennai’s most eligible and handsome bachelors without broaching the topic of his romantic life? We hear Thiru’s friends fondly call him Desi Dan, after the American Instagram superstar, poker champ and trust fund beneficiary Dan Bilzerian. True to his nickname, we are told by reliable sources that Thiru once flew down Swedish and European models who are his friends and partied with them in the city with his gang of Indian pals! Apparently, his mom even ribs him quite a lot joking that his list of girlfriends spans the English alphabet twice over! So I coax him to spill the beans. In true movie star-Casanova style, Thiru replies with a big smile which breaks into a chuckle, “No comments, please.” I refuse to relent. He offers, “See, I am a diehard romantic but I’ve also had my heart broken. You live and learn, as the saying goes.”
Taking it slow with regard to an acting career hasn’t stopped Thiru from dating actresses, as we hear that he has been been romantically involved with at least 2 South Indian heroines
With his hectic schedule, Thiru makes it a point to stay fit, spending 2 hours in the gym least three a week and is also a champion swimmer. “I like to look good. A big part of looking good, as you know, comes from feeling good. Workouts and keeping fit are essential to me. But I must say, my workout regime tends to shock people. I’ve been known to do pull ups with about 25 kilos suspended to my waist. Upside down crunches with weights are my thing. Naturally, I get a lot of eyeballs (laughs).
Chennai’s very own Dan Bilzerian is sure making the city look good on the sports map and has exciting plans to make South India a lifestyle and entertainment hotspot. Well, we can’t wait!
Favourite Holiday destination?
Maldives, because it’s my scuba diving paradise. London would be one place I would like to settle down in for sure. I spend at least 3 months of the year in New York as well.
Favourite places in Chennai?
Radio Room and Q Bar are regular hangout spots. Prego at the Taj Coromandel is my place to eat.
Favourite TV show character?
I am a big fan of Harvey Specter from Suits. And my current favourite show is the Night Manager.
Favourite business quote?
“Do what you love and give it your very best”
Being Young is: “Exhilarating. You can’t expect to be old and wise if you’ve never been young and crazy”