In February, CEO of DML Live Keerthivasan Subramanian was on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore. Seated beside him was music maestro A.R. Rahman. The two were touring the region as part of a promo for a series of concerts that were to follow at the end of April.
During the short flight, the two chatted and Rahman asked Mr Subramanian about his long-term plans.
"I told him about DML Live and that I'm not sure where it was going to lead me. He said something very interesting: 'You know what, Keerthi? There are times in our lives when we all do things we don't know. But trust me, all the dots will be connected one day'."
Those words, Mr Subramanian said, keep resounding in his mind. The 39-year-old is now in the midst of finalising all the preparations for Rahman's Infinite Love Live In Concert at the Gardens by the Bay on April 30 and in Kuala Lumpur at the Stadium Merdeka on April 26.
Standing for Dance, Music and Lights, DML Live aims to revolutionise the way Indian entertainment is perceived today by bringing top South Asian artistes to the global stage. Said Mr Subramanian: "We want to be the gateway to Indian media and entertainment for Indians across the world, and engage with them."
Mr Subramanian, a chartered accountant by training, had worked in several countries before he joined The Hindustan Times group in 2004 to help them set up their radio station, Fever 104FM. It proved to be a life-changing moment - he discovered his passion for entertainment.
"I got my first taste of media when I set up the radio and entertainment business for them. Fever 104FM constantly used to be the number one radio station in Delhi," he said.
As he gained experience, he thought of setting out on his own.
"There was an opportunity to professionalise or corporatise the entertainment space. This has happened in the US and UK, but not much in the Indian space. Given the political and economic scenario in India, I thought it would be better to test the markets outside first. In Singapore, the purchasing power of Indians is massive and it is a great place to start a business fast and easy," explained Mr Subramanian when asked what prompted him to set up his business here.
As it is with any new business, Mr Subramanian too had his share of difficulties.
"The cost of setting up the business was high and there was limited availability of the specific pool of talent we were sourcing for. I managed it by finding investors here and training local talents to handle the job scope."