The Story of an Event Management Doyen

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By A Correspondent

Bringing A Unique Event to Canada: Srimanta Kumar Chatterjee

The city of Kolkata has often been regaled with one-of-a-kind events. A specially planned and designed crowd management audio-visual aid for the West Bengal Police for one of India’s largest gathering of pilgrims, a life-sized muppet elephant walking the streets to looks of disbelief, a 20 ft idol of Goddess Durga made entirely out of product packs for an international cosmetic brand, the biggest cricket league featuring celebrities to have been held in West Bengal - the list is endless.  And the man behind all the pizzazz is Srimanta Kumar Chatterjee, the Founder of AEMPL, one of the most popular event management companies in the country. 

Grapevine has it that the man never sleeps.  So to pin him down for an interview was an event unto itself.

Srimanta is a first generation businessman.  He is from a family of academicians, lawyers and doctors.  His maternal grandmother and uncle have always had a strong affinity for the performing arts and Srimanta believes his growing up in that environment drew him towards the media and entertainment industry.

After he quit a Sales and Marketing job nearly two decades ago, Srimanta had set-up a service unit for refrigerators, his clients being Electrolux, Voltas and PepsiCo.  Business was good.  But a chance meeting with Prosenjit Chatterjee, a huge star of Bengali cinema, presented an opening in the field of events.

Srimanta had impressed Prosenjit with a quick and effective solution with regard to a long-standing problem pertaining to his make-up van refrigeration system.  Prosenjit did not forget. And one day the life- altering call came.  

Prosenjit asked Srimanta if he might be interested in working in the 'Events' industry.  He pointed out that the industry was in a nascent stage with the privatisation of television.  It needed educated and smart young professionals.  When Srimanta expressed interest in the creative and performing arts, Prosenjit gave him the opportunity to manage a big entertainment program for Zee Bangla (Bengali channel of Zee TV), Guru Ke Janai Pronam (Obeisance to the guru).  That was 2003. 

The event was a big hit and there was no looking back.

Srimanta's successful involvement with Guru Ke Janai Pronam gave him an opportunity to work with Zee Bangla, a major force in entertainment.  Soon after, he became part of a novel and unique initiative of Zee Bangla titled, Mahapujo (The Great Prayer Ceremony); where, for the first time ever, Durga Puja was telecast live on private TV.

This concept was also a major success and still popular after so many years.  After these two major successes, Srimanta was on a roll. 

He points out that there is no rule book with regard to event management.  There is a lot of scope for improvisation and to showcase one’s creative abilities.  "Clients always look for new ideas and that is very stimulating.  There is no limit on dreams.  And giving shape to your dreams is very satisfying," he smiles, having realized many such.

In this line of work, Srimanta has to deal with a lot of manpower-intensive suppliers.  There are challenges.  "Our work involves a lot of parameters beyond our control.  We fight budgets, deadlines, irregular supplies, last-minute changes from clients' end, bad weather conditions and what not."  But the joys of overcoming hurdles, completing projects in a timely fashion and to the clients' satisfaction is what keeps his adrenaline flowing.

"The uniqueness is always in the idea, and far less in the delivery.  Clients are always striving to steal a march over competition, and the onus is on us to come up with eureka moments."  He proudly points out. "Be it for activations, promotions or shows, AEMPL always comes up with a wow moment."

Srimanta's wife, Debjani Chatterjee is an acclaimed actress in Bengali television, theatre and films.  Due to her chock-a-block shooting schedule and his event commitments, he laments the lack of much ‘we’ time.  But when they get together, there is no talk of television and events.

Srimanta grew up listening to performances by maestros.  He was trained to play the tabla from when he was very young, and is hooked to Indian Classical Music.  He is also an avid rifle shooter and stays in shape as an ace marksman with a membership at the Kolkata Rifle Shooting Club.

Srimanta Kumar Chatterjee's creativity and constant foray into new ventures will soon bring a unique event on the shores of Canada.  Fuelled by the resounding response to a Bengali Cultural program in Bangladesh and Dubai, he plans to bring a similar show for Bengalis in Canada. We do not know the details of the show yet.  But we do know one thing.  It will  be an event to remember.

JULY 2018

Vol. 12 - No. 12


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