The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
CIMA Gallary
Email This Page

Full name: Sanjiv Goenka.

Date of birth: January 29, 1961.

School: St Xavier’s Collegiate School.

College: B. Com from St Xavier’s College.


What has been...

a) Your biggest learning

To accept and respect that there will be more people who have more talent and intellect than me.

b) Your biggest achievement

Where are the achievements?!

What is...

a) Your goal for this financial year

Whatever remains of the year, the aim is to survive it!

b) Your long-term dream

To have a Spencer’s outlet in every street of Calcutta.

When you are faced with a difficult business decision, what do you do instinctively?

Say a silent prayer.

What is your advice in these tough economic times?

Tighten your belt and eventually your purse-strings!

Business advice for GeNext?

Have confidence in yourself. Pursue your dream.


First memory of appreciating a work of art?

A painting of Mahatma Gandhi that has been in my house ever since I was born. I believe it is the last painting he gave a live sitting for, weeks before his assassination. It is an unsigned piece but is autographed by the Mahatma. I remember when we used to play football as kids, the ball could go nowhere near that painting!

What is the first thing that you notice in a painting?

The overall visual feel is very important but the first thing I notice in a painting, if it is a face, is the expression. Actually, even if it is an object, I notice the expression.

Which is your favourite work of art?

There are too many to name.

Paintings or sculptures, which one works for you more?

Both work for me equally.

Who’s your favourite artist?

I like many of them. But some favourites are Reza and Bikash Bhattacharjee. There are these two young artists called Binoy Varghese and Rajesh Ram I really like.


What role does music play in your life?

I enjoy listening to music. It de-stresses me. I haven’t been able to divorce the business of music from the pleasure of music! Whenever I listen to a great piece of music, I think why didn’t Saregama take it! Or if they did, will it sell!

What do you listen to when you want to unwind?

Generally, it’s Hindi film music.

Who is your favourite singer?

Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar.

Where do you buy your music from?


One song you hum/are humming right now?

Nothing. I have a horrible voice! But songs from Aradhana are my all-time favourites.


Do you like shopping?

I LOVE shopping!

How would you describe your signature style?

You tell me! Actually, my style is not really defined. I wear what is comfortable.

What do you wear on weekends?

Tees and tracks.

Which brand?

Spencer’s tees and British Airways sleeper-suit tracks!

Who is your favourite designer?

I wear a lot of Cue by Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna. International brands, I wear mostly Armani and Zegna.


What is a typical Sunday like?

It is very relaxed and extremely lazy. I wake up late, around 9am. Then it’s a breakfast of home-made dosa followed by an hour-and-a-half’s walk. Then the family has lunch together after which I usually sleep. Evenings, I go out.

What kind of a father are you to Shashwat and Avarna — friendly or disciplinarian?

As they grow up, the relationship is changing. It is getting more equal than it ever was.

Do you bring work home?

Whenever there is work, there is work and I have to bring it home. I consciously try and avoid it but as I said, when there is work, it goes home with me.

One thing that you have learnt from wife Preeti?

Patience. Tolerance. She tolerates me!

How would you rate yourself as a husband?

(Long pause) I have no clue. You should ask her!



Why have you stayed on in Calcutta?

I love the city. I love the people here.

One thing you would want to change about Calcutta?

The roads.

Party place you go to?

I rarely go out to party.


How often do you go to the movies?

At least once a week.

What kind of films?

Hindi films.

How often do you go out to eat?

Twice a week.

What kind of food?

Anything. Italian, Indian, Chinese, Japanese…

Do you cook?

I don’t really know how to cook but I used to try my hand at European and Italian food.


Favourite film
Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham.

Favourite book
Sidney Sheldon’s The Other Side of Midnight. Also Da Vinci Code.

4am friend?
I won’t name any but yes, I do have a few friends who are almost family.

Most memorable holiday
I went with friends to Maldives about five years ago during Easter. I am not a sea person but the whole ambience was perfect.

Best dressed Calcuttan
Haven’t thought much about it!

SMS, email or quick call?

If not an industrialist, what would you be?
I don’t know! Maybe a counsellor…

Email This Page