Bandra's Pandora's box
Catch Preity Zinta and Shah Rukh Khan at this happening store!
The stylised red glowing sign
'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.
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/-.
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.
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.
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
Abstract art is like a woman, good looking, but very hard
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,
Phone: 604 3168 / 0733 / 3011,
Fax: 604 7777
By: Anupama Vinayak
Photos: Vinayak Prabhu