When it comes to creating highly memorable characters that stand apart, Boman Irani is a consummate specialist… and to this end, he has always been ready and willing to go to extremes to ensure that he gets his characters right. It may not always be good for him – but he does it anyway; after all, that’s what true specialists do.
During his stint in theatre, Boman was approached by Feroze Khan to act in a play called ‘Mahatma versus Gandhi’. Boman assumed that Khan wanted him to play the role of a sepoy in the British Army, a freedom fighter, or some such part. Imagine his surprise when he was told that he would be playing Gandhi! Given his distinctly bulky build, Boman was sure it was going to be a comedy spoof of Gandhi… but no – the script indicated that the role was a serious portrayal of the Father of the Nation.
So Boman began carefully cultivating the character of the Mahatma. And it began with getting the body image right. Across a period of two months prior to the opening of the play, he went on a near starvation diet… losing weight drastically till his ribcage was clearly visible. At the end of two months, he looked every bit the gaunt, frugal Gandhi that Indians are so accustomed to seeing. This extreme step caused Boman to land up in hospital – but he has never had any regrets about the rigours he undertook for the role; all that mattered was the fact that he got the persona of the Mahatma right. The play received enormous critical acclaim both in India and in South Africa.
This is what specialists do – they go to any extreme in their quest for perfection and excellence. P Mark Mustard Oil (for which Boman is the brand ambassador) prides itself on being ‘The Mustard Specialist’, and for more than eighty years, it has gone to extremes to deliver unwavering quality and unmatched purity to its customers.
It begins right from the procurement of the seeds which are painstakingly sourced from the best mustard growing regions of the country. In the process, often the cost of procurement goes up – but P Mark has never believed in cutting corners at the cost of quality. Next, these seeds are put through stringent quality tests using a set of 14 parameters to ensure that only the best seeds make it to the production line. Even during production, technologically advanced automated sorting machines ensure that seeds that are not up to the mark are eliminated from the process. A series of 52 in-process quality checks further underlines the brand’s obsession with quality. As far as the cold pressing of mustard seeds is concerned, this may certainly be interpreted as going to extremes. But as ‘The Mustard Specialist’, it’s what P Mark does – and has always done.
Being a specialist is a challenging responsibility. It is a never ending quest to excel on an ongoing basis. Often it involves setting formidable benchmarks for oneself that at times appear to be unattainable. Sometimes one has to even go to extremes to live up to these self-imposed standards. But as Boman’s Gandhi demonstrates, the joy of perfection is a very satisfying reward.