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‘I will achieve more than my dad’

entertainment Updated: Nov 03, 2010 00:56 IST
Serena Menon
Serena Menon
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Twenty three-year-old Siddhartha Mallya is not entirely happy with having moved to India from UK this January. “I am finding it different. That I’m now going to be here for good will always need me to adjust,” says the liquor tycoon, Vijay Mallya’s, son, currently looking after the Western region marketing of United Breweries.

King of good times
Asked how having lived abroad his entire life reflects on his understanding of the Indian market, he confidently says, “I have worked with Guinness stout before coming here and India is not completely alien to me. The marketing opportunities for spirits here are limited, and that’s what I find challenging.” Siddhartha is aware that he’s in a lifestyle business and has no qualms admitting he parties hard. “My father has always said ‘work hard, play hard’. People see him as a bit of a player and party man. Yes, he plays hard and so do I, but it’s justified by the work we do. He didn’t get where he is today by sitting back!”

Siddhartha DeepikaConsidering the young businessman himself can’t yet legally drink in parts of India, he must often be asked what age he thinks should be legally acceptable? "I think 18 is perfect. If you’re not responsible then, you’re not going to be at 21," he says, adding his father has never pressured him to perform exceedingly or pick a particular line of business. "I see my family background as an opportunity to succeed. My grandfather achieved a lot, my father achieved a lot more and I will achieve more than the both of them. The name Siddhartha is a lot more important to me than my family name Mallya. The day I am remembered for who I am is the day I can sit back with a beer," he says good-humouredly.

Although he now wants to concentrate on his career, he “never wants to say never” to Bollywood, the city’s glamour industry: “I’m sure offers are going to come — a few already have — but I need to focus on my career.” Mallya is also open to the idea of becoming the face for his flagship brand Kingfisher.

Unruffled by rumours
Even though whatever little tinsel town has seen of him has been in pictures with actor Deepika Padukone, the budding baron remains unfazed about the various speculations concerning them. Most recently, Siddhartha was part of a jury with Deepika Padukone, Milind Soman, Shahana Goswami and Atul Kasbekar, and was assigned the task of hunting a face for the Kingfisher Calendar Girl 2011 in association with NDTV Good Times.

“Anyone pictured with anyone is linked. Everyone thrives off the rumour mill and loves a scandal. That’s going to continue. You can’t let these things get to you,” he says.