Pursuit of Happiness

For art's sake

Sunteck Realty CEO Kamal Khetan has an enviable art collection and he is on the lookout for more

Sunteck Realty’s CEO Kamal Khetan has no time to spare. He hurriedly walks into the brightly lit waiting room at the Sunteck Realty office in suburban Mumbai and one is left wondering how he makes time for his hobby. Apologising for the delay, we finally get some time for an adrenaline-pumped tête-à-tête with the man himself.

He proudly holds his only MF Hussain and says, “This is definitely my most prized possession.” He didn’t have to say it, really. It shows. Khetan began collecting paintings sometime in 2005. He says, “We have been in the luxury housing business since the beginning. That’s my passion. I would like to think that having some aesthetic sense helps me deliver the same level of luxury to my client.” He continues, “Earlier, I might not have been able to afford it. Now that I can, I would like to think that I am capable of building a substantial collection.” He is not even sure about how many paintings he has because he hasn't been keeping track. 

A painting or two grace every room of the floor that is occupied by his office. As we pass through the corridors, he stops briefly to excitedly point at most of the paintings to tell us about them. It’s difficult to keep up, but he ensures we’re never too far behind. Picking a favourite is a task for him. Says Khetan, “What you like is always precious. But, I love my Hussain, Yousuf Ali, Charan Sharma, Bose Krishnamachari, SH Raza and I enjoy having the Buddhas done by Devyani Parikh as it keeps me calm as well.”

Khetan acquires his paintings by getting in touch with galleries and is often approached by their owners who are aware of his deep love for art. “As soon as something catches my eye and suits my budget, I go for it,” he explains. “It also needs to go with the theme of the room. I don’t like to clutter a room with too much of a good thing either. I enjoy having some balance and I keep playing around with the arrangement so that I never get bored with the way things are placed,” he continues. While he has no preference for a certain kind of art, he likes anything that appeals to his aesthetic side.

The clock is ticking and Khetan is off to his next appointment. As he scurries out of the office, he invites me to ride along with him so we can conclude the interview. Once we're comfortably seated in his plush Mercedes, Khetan explains how being an art lover is an advantage as a player in the luxury realty segment. “It has always helped me stay focused on what the client requires from us. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that people always appreciate a good looking painting that is placed well in an office.”