Promoting over a hundred memorable shows to his credit, the showman par excellence Yogesh Sharma knows ‘Best’ how to entertain and rock the Indian diaspora of Australia by bringing the crème de la crème from the music world of Bollywood.
In this day and age, our world is getting smaller with connectivity and networking. Everybody knows somebody through Instagram or Facebook, but it was not a technology that was possible back in the day. So how did our showman get to where he is today without the tools of social media? Going over hundreds of shows is not easy, and according to him, it is just the beginning.
‘Entertainment is serious business’, says Sharma. Working full-time in show business and giving his hundred per cent calls work admiration, and no wonder he does it so well.
His ingredient to success is to keep doing what one is passionate about and not get distracted in life no matter what happens; as they say, ‘The show must go on.’
We at G’day India sat down to speak with the genius and down-to-earth showman to learn more about his story, his past, his vision for the future and most importantly, his secret in organising one after the other successful shows.
After over a hundred shows and seventeen years later, it was all the passion, hard work, connection, and networking that Sharma built his goodwill leading him to his success in Australia.
“He is the best we have in Australia, any show that has Sharma’s name embedded, one just cannot ignore. It is bound to be entertaining and ‘Paisa Vasool Show’ that’s the kind of reputation he has among the community,” says Tonne Sethi, editor-in-chief of G’day India Media
Drumrolls for Sharma!
A master’s degree in Mathematics education was not his forte. He owes his then celebrity Ranji Trophy cricketer brother Deepak Sharma for his admission to the prestigious Stephens College in New Delhi.
He always felt compromised by his height; it was not until he saw the film Tootsie in the eighties starring Dustin Hoffman that that significant change inspired Sharma to Mumbai, the capital of showbiz, to give acting a go, his burning desire.
In the nineties, he worked his way to gather enough funds to move to Mumbai, like many others, to relinquish his dreams of acting. Sitting among many other strugglers, he also met Rajiv Bhatia, aka superstar Akshay Kumar, who led Sharma to Asha Chandra’s school for acting.
Sharma defined himself for character roles, but that wasn’t the path he wanted to head, so he decided to become a producer and thought of producing a film. Then, the uncertainty of “What If?” was about to sink in. Just then one day, a good proposal came by for starting a new sound recording studio. He moved with the idea of not just opening something for the sake of opening but launching a proper recording studio where music directors and singers would have all the state-of-the-art recording equipment.
In 1997 “The Tune”, one of the most high-profile and successful digital sound recording studios in Mumbai, was born, with the investment of sixty-four lakhs rupees and three other partners, which continued to flourish with leading music artists and directors from the industry.
The studio attracted almost all the famous singers from Bollywood and beyond. Celebrities such as Jagjit Singh, Daler Mehndi, Sonu Nigam, Mika, Udit Narayan, Kavita Krishnamurthy, Abhijeet, and many more were regular patrons of the studio. There, Sharma learned a lot about the industry, connecting with the who’s who of Bollywood, from singers to music directors and producers.
All loved soft-spoken Sharma! Everyone knighted his studio, which made him happy; at least he was close to his passion, but unfortunately, it was not making any profit which was worrying. The businessman in Sharma was once again in a dilemma of what’s next?
It was 2000 when Sharma moved back to Delhi from Mumbai at the request of Daler Mehndi, his long-time dear friend who was already a bonafide superstar by then. Sharma joined Daler Mehndi as an executive producer for Daler Mehndi’s new music company ‘DM Music’ which was also Sharma’s brainchild.
Besides Daler Mehndi, Sharma also looked after Mika Singh. Sharma’s in-depth knowledge of the industry and his vision helped the brothers scale up the business.
Sharma was not only the Executive Producer but was a very close friend and played an influential role in contributing to their growth as professionals in the Bollywood Music Industry. However, the winds of change arrived when Sharma’s elder sister, who lived in Australia, came for a visit to Delhi. She was the one who initially suggested he move to Australia.
Sharma had no complaints about his life in India other than that he was not doing something creative for himself. This proposal of moving to Australia was something he started to evaluate closely. With a gentle push from his wife, he seriously thought about moving to Australia. Finally, in 2004 Sharma and his family landed in Sydney for good.
Sharma initially was not happy starting his life from scratch in Australia. Like most new migrants, he did odd jobs to keep going sincerely and diligently as he always believed in hard work.
While making ends meet with odd jobs, he studied and understood the Australian event and showed the industry how it works. Sharma soon learned that there was a lot of scope and massive potential for significant events to be done professionally in Australia as the Bollywood concert scene until then was practically non-existent.
During these initial days, through reading various local community magazines, he discovered the local famous Bollywood singer Pupinder Mintoo in 2004, leading to his introduction to one Mr Ajay Singh. A prominent promoter in the scenes of the local events and ran a successful magazine by the name of Desi Style.
Ajay Singh’s trust in Sharma’s capability led to a collaboration and the beginning of an endless journey of bringing Bollywood entertainment to the Asia Pacific.
His first show in collaboration, Bollywood Remix, featured Meghna Naidu, Harry Anand, Sanober Kabir, and Jimmy Moses in 2004. Shortly after, in yet another partnership with Singh, Sharma brought the mega-superstar Sonu Nigam to Australia for the first time in 2005, giving the Indo-Australian community its first taste of a Bollywood musical extravaganza, and the rest is history.
It’s a total myth when people think an event management industry is a money-making industry. Even after hundred shows, especially when one has brought the crème of Bollywood from young sensations to seasoned performers, rising stars to living legends like Salman Khan, Asha Bhosle, Jagjit Singh, Sonu Nigam, Shreya Ghoshal, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Pankaj Udhas, Gurdas Mann, etc. to the Southern Hemisphere.
Sharma says it takes teamwork to be successful. As a leader, he has always taken his role very seriously and sets an example for his team with punctuality, integrity, efficiency, and staying calm and composed. His attention to detail and years of experience in the industry are instrumental in the massive success of his show business, creating fantastic memories for both audiences and artists alike.
In recent times the market has changed tremendously, and Sharma now utilises online booking systems where patrons can now buy tickets directly, making life very easy compared to before. Gone are the days when it took months to distribute tickets to multiple outlets, and it was even harder to recover the money from the sold tickets. Nowadays, the online system saves effort and time, giving him the freedom to do more shows through partnerships with local promoters in different cities in the South Asia Pacific.
Sharma always believes communication and high-quality service will carry people and businesses forward. This philosophy reflects in his company, Cinestar Events today, which has achieved the milestone of 100 successful shows promoted throughout Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji.
Being the pioneer in the Indian entertainment business of Australia, he’s also an Associate Partner at a highly successful real estate development group named Castle Group. Sharma says, “every business has a life of its own, representing a cycle of ups and downs.” That, however, doesn’t stop the showman from presenting the glitterati of Bollywood with the magic of artists, songs, dance, and variety shows.
His sincere advice to young and aspiring event promoters is not to get swayed just by the showbiz’s glitter and glamour. He emphasises how important it is always to do the mathematics of the show beforehand. ‘To have a passion is good but to hone your craft needs a certain growth mindset’, Sharma says.
From Sonu Nigam’s multi-city Australia tour to the Ghazal King Jagjit Singh’s premium concert at Sydney’s opulent Opera house in 2005 to Johnny Lever, Pankaj Udhas, Gurdas Maan, Asha Bhosle, Adnan Sami, Shreya Ghoshal, and Mika Singh up till 2016, and certainly not forgetting Salman Khan’s Dabang The Tour in 2017.
Adding to his prolific profile, he provided a glorious opportunity and platform to the rising star of Bollywood, Jazim Sharma, a highly talented Ghazal singer, in the form of a highly successful Australia tour in 2018. Furthermore, Sharma continued to cement his legacy by bringing the Soulful Soprano of Bollywood, the legendary Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, in 2019. Sharma has brought them all because he believes in delivering the best Bollywood entertainment to the Australian community.
With life getting back to normal post- COVID, Sharma is about doing what he does best, entertaining the masses in Australia by announcing two big shows coming soon to Australia. By substantial public demand, he’s bringing back Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan in ‘The Legacy Tour’ in Sydney and Melbourne on the 25th and 26th of June 2022, respectively.
And, to end the year, India’s biggest comedy star superstar, Kapil Sharma, will hit Sydney on Saturday 3rd September at Sydney’s Darling Harbour ICC and on Sunday 4th September at the MCEC in Melbourne.
What can we say of Sharma?
Well! He stands tall as the elite in the event business here in the South Asia Pacific.
With that thought in mind, we couldn’t help quoting, “To accomplish great things, we must not only act but also dream, not only plan but also believe”
By Nandita Chakraborty