Young & Inspiring: Talent Manager Abhirath Shah of ANS Entertainment
Our series ‘Young and Inspiring’ showcases fresh, exciting new talent powerhouses from the design, fashion and event domains who specialize in creating dream weddings for couples with stars in their eyes.
For Abhirath Shah, it was when he was working in his father’s business when he realized that it was his hobby that he really wanted to pursue as his profession. He took the plunge, learned the tricks of the trade before founding ANS Entertainment in 2017 with the sole aim to provide a platform for upcoming artists and talents.
His company is a one-stop solution for services to events, parties and weddings. While they hold a mark in the domain of talent management, hospitality, logistics, and on-field coordination, they are also known for wedding consultancy, venue programming, concert/event photography, LED stage design and projection mapping.
Here he talks to us about his experiences.
Tell us a bit about your journey? What inspired you to get into entertainment?
“I started my life in events and nightlife over a decade ago. Initially, I organized gigs to bring down some international DJs to India along with some friends and soon enough, I released how much I enjoyed doing this! Managing people and organizing events, came to me naturally. I started doing this as a hobby but what I realized was the potential of talent in this country waiting to be explored.
Post my graduation, I joined my father’s business, but briefly after I realized where my true passion lied and decided to take the plunge into the big bad world of entertainment. I joined a reputed artist management agency and started working with them on shows. After completing over a 100 shows with them, I knew I had gained enough experience to venture out on my own. This is when ANS Entertainment was born.”
Which was the first wedding you planned and when did you realize that weddings are a great platform for artists?
“It was back in 2016, one of my closest friend’s elder sister was getting married and I started helping with everything that was going on. The process of planning, managing and executing the logistics, hospitality, entertainment was so much fun that I chose to take it up professionally as well.
The mehndi, cocktail, sangeet and post-wedding parties are events when everyone is looking forward to having an amazing night accompanied by great music. So I thought, why not use this as a platform for all the talented artists who are looking for events to perform at? That’s when I made weddings one of my key platforms.”
Which is the most interesting and challenging wedding that you planned entertainment for?
“It was a wedding that took place in Phuket in February 2018. The families of the bride and the groom were based out of Hong Kong so managing coordination and agreements on all aspects of entertainment was a nightmare! When the wedding got closer, everything took shape seamlessly and it seemed like we had just made it through, but in our field, the drama never ends. My DJ and I were supposed to fly to Phuket after a show from Kolkata and our flight got canceled last minute. The next available flight got us to Phuket only two hours before the functions started! We practically sprinted to the venue from the airport (which was another hour away!), we did our show and took a return flight the next morning back to Bombay for another commitment. So we went from Kolkata to Phuket to Bombay in a span of 12 hours.”
What is the most unusual wedding entertainment request that you have ever had?
“We have had many but I think my favorite one was when one of my artists was asked to perform a private show in the honeymoon suite of a gay couple last year. Though we politely declined the offer, it surely became a matter of great discussion for the entire team for next couple of weeks!”
What should the couple/ family keep in mind while selecting artists for their wedding?
“Always go with referrals! I cannot insist more on this. When it’s an occasion such as a wedding, you don’t want to mess with the entertainment aspect of it.
Another essential is to sign-up artists and managers who have the right attitude towards their work, understand how important that event is for you, understand your exact requirements and are committed to making it the most memorable day of your life!”
Which is your favorite location (national and international) for a wedding when it comes to entertainment setups? Why?
“I have been fortunate enough to have worked with some of the best venues in the country and abroad, but my top favorites will have to be – Hyatt Regency Mumbai and Sahara Star in India and The Ritz Carlton Bali, JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa, and Rayong Marriott Resort & Spa.
Two things that are common between all these properties is that the production steps up here, can be really vast and experimental and that the staff at all these hotels is very accommodating. We have never faced any sort of roadblocks while setting up or performing at any of these venues.”
What are the biggest challenges a Talent Manager faces?
“To be honest, being a Talent Manager is a thankless job, so if you aren’t completely passionate about what you are doing, then surviving in this industry will be close to impossible. A few of the biggest challenges we face on an ongoing basis are:
• No client wants to speak to the manager, they always wish to talk the talent directly.
• When you handle multiple talents, exclusivity for artists becomes an ongoing debate.
• You have to be at the beck and call of the talents 24×7, 365 days of the year. There are no weekends or holidays!
• Since you spend so much time with each artist it is important to maintain a friendship but also be able to take professional decisions when needed.”
What’s your advice to couples searching for their dream artists and performers? Any other tips for them?
“The advice is the same as I mentioned before, however, some additional tips would be:
• Not to compromise on the artist budgets if they come with the right experience and team.
• Always have a signed contract with the management team.
• Stick with your payment schedule.
• Make the Talent Manager your one point contact at all times.”
Some reputed names under their portfolio are DJ Stetson, VJ Tarang Ahuja, Violinist Sandeep Thakur, DJ Rink, Percussionist Tarang Singhal, Singers Danielle Rebello, and Sajan Patel. The company also has an international collaboration with AKS Artist Management founded by Bharat M Harpalani who manages DJ Manoj, DJ Nitesh, DJ Gautam, and DJ Beatz.