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 Home > City Resources > Arts & Antiques> Bandra's Pandora's box
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    Care for your paintings

Bandra's Pandora's box

Catch Preity Zinta and Shah Rukh Khan at this happening store!

The stylised red glowing sign
Prakash Babani, proprietor
Click here to view the 360 panorama
'Satguru's' on Bandra's Linking Road is just a teaser to the temptations that lie behind it - a store that speaks, breathes and showcases the world of art. Few city elite can afford to ignore the store. Celebrites like Dilip Kumar, Sunil Dutt, Shilpa Shetty, Anupam Kher, Preity Zinta, Shah Rukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan, the Tatas, Birlas and Hindujas have found it to be their Pandora's box. Interior decorators and architects vouch for the store. Now, Satguru's is even Feng Shui compliant.

A collectors delightThe store dates back to the partition of India, with custom framing and religious picture prints as its mainstay. "In the 1970s, imported posters, chemical laminations and prints of picturesque sceneries were in vogue. Then came the laminated scenic posters with clocks in them. Abstract pictures in bold colours came into fashion in the mid-eighties and lasted till 1995. Black, then made a statement and was used in abundance. Once again the trend is moving back to religion and sceneries," explains Prakash Babani, the creative eye and owner of Satguru's. This art store has a daily customer flow amounting to 150 to 200 and the average selling price ranging between Rs 4500/- to Rs 5000/-.

A laughing buddha at the Feng Shui cornerToday, architects have become finicky and even want table tops to match the art pieces that they select. So, Satguru's have started designing and stocking centre and side tables also. "Before only the rich were associated with art, today even the middle class has become art and interior decor conscious. I remember in 1985-86, I used to travel abroad with a bag in hand and go from store to store to show my articles. Nobody appreciated it at that time and they used to throw me out. Today, 60 per cent of our customers are non-resident Indians," he says with pride. The world has become a smaller place with international and Indian art coming closer together.

Basement treasureIn 1986-87, Satguru's was the first to develop idols of Ganesha as an art form. Till date, they have one of the most exclusive collections of Ganeshas in various forms. "A Ganesha never goes unsold. Ganesha painted in any colour or developed in any form comes out as a piece of art," says Babani with conviction. The store has sister concerns and artists working exclusively for them. The colour and design trends are ever undergoing metamorphosis and Satguru's acts as a bridge between architect and customer. "Now, customers want to be personally involved in the layout of their homes and the artefacts and paintings that they want to display. So, we have a dual team to please - the architect and the customer. A few years ago even a Ganesha idol was chosen by the architect," he adds.

Basement treasureThe Feng Shui corner on the first floor, with Feng Shui expert Dr Charuhas Naik as advisor, attracts a large following. Feng Shui trinkets from the 'Panchloha' bells, turtles, magic stones, laughing buddhas, wind chimes are arranged randomly. Shop girls are adept in various Feng Shui cures and readily provide customers with advice.

Learning only through experience, Prakash puts in a mean 16 hours a day at work. He spends atleast 5 hours interacting with artists and deciding on the pieces that he would like to choose. "Many a time , I even commission artists giving them the theme and the colour schemes that I feel a customer requires," says Prakash.

The store has maintained a low key image as far as promotions are concerned. "I believe that my satisfied customers bring in many more customers through word-of-mouth. My NRI customers are my foreign public relation ambassadors. Anupam Kher frequents the store so often, that many thought that it belonged to him," said Prakash.

Few thoughts that define the store and its owner...

If you thought art comes from the heart, you are way off the mark.

Abstract art is like a woman, good looking, but very hard to understand.

Success is largely a matter of hanging on, after others have let go.

Address: Satguru's, 353, Satguru House,
Linking Road, Khar, Mumbai - 400 052,

604 3168 / 0733 / 3011,
604 7777

By: Anupama Vinayak
Photos: Vinayak Prabhu