Delhiite Irfan Alam crowned Zee's 'Business Baazigar'

MUMBAI: "Ali, your worst fears have come true. The dark horse seems to have taken away the top prize," said Zee Telefilms chairman Subhash Chandra giving his characteristic side glance to Ali Ismail, who was till then a hot favourite for the Business Baazigar title.

Then, moving on, he dropped the bombshell with his final declaration. "Irfan Alam from Delhi is the Business Baazigar."

At a colourful ceremony held at the Taj Presidency, in south Mumbai's swank Cuffe Parade area, Zee Telefilms thus came up with the winner of the country's first ever business reality show, Business Baazigar. After more than two hours of intense drama, the reversal of fortunes saw Irfan Alam, the wild card entrant into the finals, stealing the show. Irfan snatched the top prize from the other two finalists Puneet from Chandigarh and Ali Ismail from Mumbai in a closely fought contest marked that road an emotional rollercoaster.

The jury, in a surprising turn of events, offered one of the Mini Baazigar winners - Irfan Alam, the opportunity to compete for the grand Business Baazigar title and win full funding for his idea. The condition for this entry was that he would forfeit his Mini Baazigar winnings of Rs 2 million. As they say, fortune favours the brave (in this case the one with the most self belief). Irfan took the chance and emerged the winner.

The dramatic decision of the jury to name Irfan as the Business Baazigar came as a complete surprise to the audience who had voted for Puneet (47 per cent) and Ali (30 per cent) over Irfan (23 per cent).

According to an official Zee spokesperson, Zee will provide the full funding to the business idea put forth by Irfan. Meanwhile, Puneet and Ali will be receiving partial funding. The finale episode will be telecast on 12 August at 8 pm.

Irfan, who was earlier voted out of the show, had gone on to win a Mini Baazigar project - which Zee offered to the best ousted contestants - with his idea to systematise the working of cycle rickshaws in Delhi by bringing them under one roof, raise their standards of living and simultaneously provide the public a better, more efficient transport system. He plans to generate revenues from providing value added services and using the rickshaws as mobile advertising media. His innovative project and the confidence he displayed to score an initial victory with the project impressed the judges and got him a wild card entry into the finals.
Speaking on the culmination of his pet project, Chandra revealed Zee's plans to launch a second season of Business Baazigar. "We want to make the show even better in our next attempt. This time we received about 200,000 entries and in the next edition we expect about million entries. We want suggestions from all the business leaders to make the show even more vibrant in our next edition."

Felicitating the winners on behalf of sponsor Aditya Birla Group, Rajashree Birla pointed out that the show fitted very well with Aditya Birla Group's vision. "Business Baazigar really went along with our social vision of reaching out to people and tapping their entrepreneurial potential," said Birla.

Zee TV business head Punit Goenka said, "We are glad to announce India's first Business Baazigar, after several months of hard work undergoing gruelling tasks. Irfan has proved worthy to be Business Baazigar. This show is an exceptional one that has intense reality drama, besides the unique concept. Business Baazigar again attempts to bring life to a commendable business idea. We are glad to have Aditya Birla Group as our partners in this noble venture of supporting a deserving business idea."

The grand event had as its guest of honour Union minister of commerce & industry Kamal Nath. The event was attended by the who's who from Mumbai's business community consisting of names such as aviation minister Prafful Patel, former I&B minister Ravishankar Prasad, Vijaypath Singhania, Mukul Kasliwal, Kishore Biyani, Shashi Ruia, Naresh Goel and Ramesh Agarwal. Among the media bigwigs present were Madison Communications CMD Sam Balsara, Lodestar Universe CEO Shashi Sinha, FCB Ulka MD Anil Kapoor and Euro RSCG CEO Ishaan Raina.

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