Boman Rustom Irani Chairman & Managing Director, Rustomjee Group
Boman Irani humble family owned a farm in Dahisar and in Dahanu. His father who was interested in motorbikes, along with his brothers, set up a motor-cycle factory in Mysore. The company was called ‘Ideal Jawa India (Pvt.) Ltd.’ Times were good. The factory was coming along nicely, when tragedy struck. His father died.
Boman was nineteen years old then. He had recently finished his engineering degree and joined the factory. He was deputed to sell a small property they had in Bandra, this was his first foray with real estate. While trying to sell their property he met several architects, developers, brokers, government officials, anyone and everyone connected with real estate in some way. The more people he met, the more he learnt.
Coming from a manufacturing back-ground, Boman found that real estate was less organised. In those days real estate was all about gut and instinct. It was an art. But he felt, that that there had to be a method. One should be able to document the method. It must be well researched and well organised. This set him thinking. If this art could be combined with science, it may well lead to something big. Thus were sowed the seeds which have flowered into ‘Rustomjee’.
Fourteenth of April 1996, the date is still enshrined in his memory. It is the date that he launched his very first project. It was in Dahisar—50,000 sq. ft., 54 flats. Boman still remembers a lot of Gujaratis and Maharashtrians came to him, quite literally a new kid on the block, with their cheques in hand. They had great faith in Parsis. He realized the great responsibility he was carrying – a torch-bearer carrying forth the legacy of his ancestors.
There is nothing more important than Trust. It can take a life time, even several generations to build trust and only a moment to lose it. This was his inheritance as a Parsi. It is something he cherishes and strives to protect every single day.
At that point the company was called Keystone Realtors.Boman’s mother insisted that the brand must be named after his father otherwise she would not come for the launch. Mom’s words stuck and their name ‘Rustomjee’ came into being.
“Real estate requires a lot of investment. You have to go in with all your money before you get anything out. Land is a key part of the puzzle. In the Rustomjee model, we partner with land-owners. We have had 30 partners to-date. I am proud to say that there has been no litigation, no problems between us and any of our partners.”
It hurts me sometimes when real estate developers get a bad rap. We seem to be the favourite bug-bear of everyone. Sure there are some of us who could be doing a better job but there are many of us doing yeoman’s service providing people with a roof above their heads.
Boman, married to actress and entrepreneur, Perizaad Zorabian is blessed with two lovely kids – Zaha& Zayan. Boman is the Secretary of CREDAI and the Vice President of the MCHI-CREDAI. He is also the founder and chief benefactor of the ‘Rustom Irani Foundation’ which manages and runs institutes in all spheres of education from pre-school to post-graduation, with the capacity of more than 12,000 students. Two things are closest to his heart “Homes for All” and “Making Education a Priority”.
“I believe a hobby is a reflection of one’s personality. Pursuing an activity one enjoys greatly contributes to defining a person’s personality. Always enthusiastic for a kick of adrenaline, ice driving with Laponie in Sweden gives me an incredible high powered experience as one slips into exciting drifts with high powered well designed automobiles in total safety.I find Karate helpful in inculcating discipline, self-defense and patience. I prefer it for the mental and physical strength it develops. It has been my fitness mantra and allows me to develop focus.
My favorite drinks are Lemonade and a glass of Red Wine, favorite movie is Oscar Winning Movie ‘Life is Beautiful’ that reignites family values and is magnificent in every way and the favorite book is ‘The Godfather‘by Mario Puzo, which if you remove the fact that it dwells on organised crime is actually a guide to doing business by offering traits of the human nature and importance of adaptation to different situations.”