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How Pune’s startup leaders, artists and filmmakers are looking forward to 2022

Covid-19 changed businesses forever and it is here to stay, say entrepreneurs who are all looking forward to another challenging but exciting year.

Pune |
December 31, 2021 12:30:04 pm

Written by Dipanita Nath and Ashish Chandra

Vineet Patni, president, TiE Pune
As TiE believes that entrepreneurship is a valuable tool to uplift society, and invests its resources to promote it, I think 2022 will see a few interesting things. Covid changed our lives and businesses for sure. As a result, many businesses tackled those challenges or reinvented themselves. But this virus is not going to go away in the coming year. We will continue to see it in different mutated forms. This is sure to impact many big and small companies in different ways. As a result, even startups will keep thinking of ways and means to beat new challenges that will be thrown at us. In fact, innovation is on the rise across all sectors, including non-tech ones like healthcare, education, food and more. While we will have to continue to be cautious about this new year, I expect to see more than usual innovation in our start-up sectors.

Chetan Rawal, Co-founder, Biogenics Labs Pvt. Ltd.
The past has been a mixed bag for our company. While Covid meant more people needed to get various tests done, which would translate into more revenue for us, it came with its own set of challenges. While demand was growing, our problem was on the staffing side. Given that our people would have to go to homes to get samples, they too were worried about contracting the disease. Some even gave up the job temporarily. We managed the situation by providing insurance for all our staffers. As we move into the new year, I hope and pray that people have learned the valuable lesson that Covid has taught us – do not take your health for granted. Be proactive about your health. Besides following a healthy lifestyle, also be conscious of getting yourself tested regularly to keep tabs on all the parameters. For a path lab like mine, it will mean more business but also a more health-conscious society that values health.

Amrit Singh, co-founder, Loop Health
It’s clear that Covid is here to stay through the new year. Omicron specifically does not appear too alarming. While it’s highly transmissible, death rates are low. With that in mind, creators and builders should proceed with caution — taking all safety protocol but forging forward nonetheless. That’s how Loop Health is approaching 2022.

Vida Heydari, gallerist, Vida Heydari Contemporary Gallery
2022 may be going to be another challenging year but since 2021 was already so challenging, I think I am a lot better equipped to face those challenges. It’s not scaring me anymore. I’m looking forward to all the opportunities that 2022 has to offer and am excited to use all the lessons I learned in 2021. Multiple national and international art fairs have been lined up at the gallery to showcase Indian talent. We also have some top curators of the country lined up for showcasing young talent. We have a tie-up with a nationally renowned chef to bring new and interesting dishes to the restaurant attached to the gallery. A top mixologist will be here to introduce fantastic new cocktails. There is also a lineup of new musical talent, poets and other performance artists at VHC.

Milind Mulick, painter
The last two years have been so unpredictable that we can’t talk about what is going to happen tomorrow and what is it that we are hoping for. Today every person has to identify the necessity of the change and adjust accordingly. As an artist, I have been painting, doing exhibitions, and selling my work. Alongside this, I also teach students. People think of buying art only when the economy is doing well and all conditions are favourable. During the lockdown and the subsequent shutting down of everything, the sale of art went down along with the economy. So, I shifted my teaching to the online mode, and fortunately, that went well and became the source of my bread. My advice to any up-and-coming artist — and everyone else — is that, instead of cribbing, use your 24 hours wisely, adapt to a certain occupation that will utilise your skill and is required in the current time.

Biswanath Rath, film director
Like hundreds of thousands of artists, entrepreneurs and filmmakers, in the last two years, we, at BnR Films have been impacted seriously by the coronavirus pandemic. Despite the anxiety and restlessness as a filmmaker, I have to admit that the coronavirus has brought a few major gifts in the form of permanent changes in our approach, audience’s taste and the content market’s dynamics. It accelerated the growth of OTTs and digital platforms tenfold, where content may not be the king yet but it is definitely the most eligible contender for the throne. The virus has taught us to be flexible and we are not going to repeat the mistake of making six-months or yearly plans for any of our future film projects. We are looking forward to 2022, the year in which, hopefully, we will hear the first clap for our first feature film. Lockdown or not, we will ensure that we are making good content, irrespective of length or scale.

Abhijeet Choudhury, director and founder, Swatantra Theatre
The last two years have been challenging for us, both financially and in terms of keeping artists motivated. However, it also allowed us to grow in terms of literature, either by reading, searching the literature, or creating an entirely new one. Writers like Munshi Premchand, Ramdhari Singh Dinkar and Sumitrananadan Pant, among others, wrote at a time when the system prohibited them to express their views and their work continues to motivate us even today. Therefore, we need to keep producing new literature so that we can leave our bit for future generations. For 2022, we are very hopeful and will be working with double the energy. There is a lot of enthusiasm among the artists as we are expecting a lot of good production work to soon come up. We are also planning some production for which we have been preparing for the last two years. While we don’t know till when Covid will last, it is the same for everyone across the world and till then we have to work and live with it.

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