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Wednesday, 21 December 2011

BMW barber who also has a Rolls Royce

BMW barber who also has a Rolls Royce
Meet Ramesh, the Rolls Royce barber
Ramesh Babu stands flanked by his Rolls Royce (to his right) and a BMW
Bangalore, Sept. 25: If you want a “good haircut”, Ramesh Babu can give you one for Rs 65. That is, if he hasn’t already driven off in his Rs 3-crore Rolls Royce Ghost.

Babu, after all, is no ordinary barber. He is a billionaire barber who owns a rent-a-car fleet of 60 cars.
He is also the subject of an upcoming film, likely to be released in three languages. “Somehow, things have clicked for me,” says the 41-year-old.
Thirty-two years ago, everything seemed to be going wrong.
His father had just died, leaving the family his barber shop. His mother leased the shop for Rs 5 a day and took up work as a domestic help to make ends meet.
“I remember the day my father passed away, leaving our family and his barbershop,” he says, recalling his mother’s struggle to bring up three kids on her own.
As he grew older, Babu couldn’t decide whether to continue studying or start working.
His mother made the decision for him.
He completed his schooling at St Patrick’s High School and then finished his high secondary in St Joseph’s College of Commerce. In 1991, he decided to run his father’s salon.
The salon, named Inner Space, was in a shopping complex by the school where he studied. It soon became a trendy styling outlet for youngsters.
Within three years, Babu had enough spare cash to buy a Maruti Omni people carrier for personal use. Then someone gave him the tip that changed his life.
One of his mother’s employers advised him to lease the Omni to Intel, the company she worked with.
“It all began from there and, by 2004, I had six cars all engaged in the same business,” Babu says.
After he lost the Intel assignment in 2004, Babu floated Ramesh Tours and Travels and scouted for clients.
To tap high-end clients, he invested in a Mercedes E Class luxury sedan that cost him Rs 38 lakh. Three more Mercedes cars and four BMWs were added to the fleet, which is, however, dominated by 48 Toyota Innovas. His clients have included actors Salman Khan, Aamir Khan and Aishwarya Rai.
The Rolls Royce, a recent addition, came with a bank loan for which he is paying Rs 7 lakh every month. When not leased out, Babu drives the white beauty to work.
At Rs 50,000 a day, his Rolls Royce is rarely hired, but Babu is a contented man. “I can at least drive this dream car and take my mother and family out on drives,” he says.
Babu owes his success to doing what he thought was best. “Whatever I did, I did well, that’s all I can say,” he smiles.
His bank balance and social status have changed for good, but Babu — now married with three children, two girls and a boy — has stuck to working at the salon without fail. “That’s my bread and butter,” he says about Inner Space.
An early riser, he checks his fleet before reaching the salon at 8 in the morning. “Whatever I have achieved, there’s nothing like giving a good haircut,” he says.
An avid football fan, who counts former India and Mohun Bagan player Babu Mani among his friends, Babu can’t hide his disbelief that a film is being made on him. “Now someone wants to make a movie on me,” he says.
Director Suresh Reddy is likely to cast southern actor Ramesh Arvind, who has an uncanny resemblance to Babu.

MydeaMedia Quick Notes:

Ramesh Babu, the Bangalore barber who is the owner of a Rolls Royce Ghost costing Rs 3.1 crore, a fleet of Mercedes Benz and BMWs, is the inspiration for a new Kannada film, ‘Kshourika Neenenta Saadaka’. (The barber who owns a Rolls)

Ramesh is a full-time barber with saloons in Bowring Institute, KSCA and Brigade Road. But he also owns 60 cars, which he lends to corporates and celebrities.

Producer and director Suresh Reddy says the report in Bangalore Mirror was the inspiration for him. “After reading the report, I decided to make a film on this inspiring tale and started writing. After that, I met Ramesh Babu and told him the story I had written for the film,” Reddy said.

Ramesh Babu was surprised. “It was very close to my real life. The only big difference was about the marriage. The film story has the protagonist having a love marriage while I had an arranged marriage,” said Babu.

The film was announced on Monday. Shooting will begin next month when the lead actor is finalised. “I have contacted four top actors. One of them will play the lead role. It is not yet finalised,” said Reddy.

The film is about a poor boy who takes up his father’s profession of barbering at a young age goes on to achieve big success in life. Reddy’s last film was ‘Sankata Bandaga Venkataramana’.

Ramesh lost his father at the age of nine and began working as a barber after his SSLC. He has been in the business for over 20 years now. He started renting out cars with a Maruti Omni in 1994. “I have never sought favours or taken extra tips from any of my customers. I have 125 employees now but still attend to 15 customers every day. I pay my income tax promptly,” says Babu.

Ramesh’s prized possession, the Rolls Royce Ghost, will soon be sent out of Bangalore. The hiring of the Ghost costs Rs 75,000 per day. But since there are not enough customers as compared to Hyderabad and Mumbai, his car will be spending more time outside Bangalore. It will soon find a permanent home in one of the other two cities, says Ramesh

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