Vijay Mallya is currently in news for the Red Corner Notice issued against him by the Enforcement Directorate for money laundering and incurring a debt of 9000 crores to banks in India. He was India’s most flamboyant business tycoon and liquor baron. His larger-than-life image attracted a lot of attention and he had many fans even within Bollywood. His parties, his travels, his villas were always the talk of the town. Mallya’s playboy image always worked in his advantage and he was always surrounded by the hottest women in town.
On the other hand, he was also avidly interested in politics and joined the Janata Party. Mallya is also an ex-member of the Rajya Sabha. Here are 13 of the most interesting facts about our very own ‘King of Good Times’.
1. Mallya is super religious. In fact, whenever there is any important event, personal or professional, he makes it a point to go only at an auspicious time. He also goes on the Sabarimala pilgrimage every year. Some also say that he visits the temple barefoot.
The business tycoon also made sure that before each Kingfisher aircraft went into service, he visited Tirupati first. Sadly, all the old gods and the new couldn’t stop Kingfisher from going down.
2. Mallya is a technology enthusiast and suffers from a serious case of Blackberry addiction. While he loves his technology, one thing he is sure to never leave home without is his Blackberry; that is his only one constant companion.
3. Vijay Mallya is noted for his successful bidding in auction of items that are considered of great historical value to India. In 2004, he placed the winning bid of £175,000 for the sword of Tipu Sultan at an auction in London, and brought it back to India. Again in 2009, Mallya successfully bid for the belongings of Gandhi at approximately US$1.8 million, in a New York auction. “Bidded for country” is what he said in defense.
4. Mallya owned Royal Challengers Bangalore and he co-owns the Formula One team Force India. But did you know that he also owns the I-League football teams Mohun Bagan A.C and East Bengal FC?
5. Besides being a ladies’ man, he was officially married twice. He was first married to an Air India airhostess Sameera Tyabjee in 1986; Siddharth Mallya is their son. After splitting with his first wife, he married Rekha in 1993, a two-time divorcee. Rekha was his neighbour since childhood. Serious case of love thy neighbour here! They have 2 daughters namely Leanna and Tanya.
6. He was always an ace student and went to the prestigious St. Xavier’s College in Calcutta. However, he interned in his dad Vittal Mallya’s company and used a bicycle for commuting.
7. Mallya owns the Indian Empress yacht, one of the world’s biggest yachts. It incorporates exceptional standards with impressive maximum speeds. We don’t doubt that because it was earlier owned by the Qatari Royal Family. It has a steam room, massage facilities, cinema room, piano and a gymnasium. A ride on the yacht costs a whopping €750,000 per week.
8. Mallya is a linguist. He can speak Bengali, Kannada, Hindi, Konkani, Gujarati, English and French fluently. Much wow. Part of his fluency comes from the fact that he is originally from Karnataka but spent most of his early life in Calcutta.
9. He is a genuine workaholic. According to some sources, Mallya apparently has never taken a day off. Whether he is at office or in a party, he is always working. He is giving us serious work goals now!
10. Mallya is not really a brand buff. In fact, he is not a brand conscious person at all. He buys anything that catches his eye, from flea markets to designer stores across the globe. So, don’t be surprised if you see him shopping next to you in Sarojini Nagar!
11. Despite owning a plethora of luxury cars, one that is the closest to his heart is his Bentley. It would be really sad if SBI were to auction that as well!
12. Mallya’s favourite colour is red. Whether it is his home, office or car, one can see specs of red either in his apparel or in the ambience. In fact, all his team’s jerseys are either red or at least have traces of red.
13. He loves his jewellery. He is often spotted sporting a huge diamond-studded ‘VJM’ bracelet on his right hand, along with a diamond, ruby and emerald pendant of Lord Venkateshwara. On his ears are eye-popping solitaires that belonged to his grandmother. Mindblown!
One may love him for the unapologetic way he lived his life till now or hate him for the alleged bank frauds, but the self-claimed king of good times is very difficult to ignore.