Ritu Nanda -Chairman of Escolife IT
The world might know her as Raj Kapoor’s daughter,karina Kapoor and Karishma Kapoor’s aunt,motherinlaw of Amitabh Bacchan’s daughter shweta wife but Ritu Nanda prefers to be known as the country’s leading insurance advisor.
She is in the Guinness Book of Records for selling 17,000 pension policies in a single day and is the member of elite LIC Chairman’s Club for an amazing eight years in a row. That’s not all. She figures among the top 1,000 insurance professionals in the world.
Meet Ritu Nanda daughter of Raj Kapoor, wife of Rajan Nanda and aunt of Karishma and Kareena Kapoor. But above all that, a self-made tycoon.
Indeed, more than her family connections, Ritu Nanda would prefer to be known as the country’s leading insurance advisor. Besides being an ace agent she is also the CEO of RNIS College of Insurance and Management, Chairman of Escolife IT, a high technology platform created to provide service to the insurance sector worldwide, head of Raksha, a third party administrator that runs services in the health sector, author of best-selling novel Raj Kapoor Speaks and owner of art gallery Rimari. Phew!
“Nothing has come by connections. Everything has been achieved by persistence and my belief that every drop in the ocean counts,” says Ritu.
Take for example the RINS College of Insurance and Management that has seen phenomenal growth in the last three years and now has 80 branches countrywide. “Our aim is to develop skilful insurance professionals who can make a mark in a competitive world. We strive to provide a sound knowledge base with emphasis on building strong fundamentals,” says Ritu.
How she became a professional is an absorbing story in itself. Fifteen years ago, her home appliance company NikiTasha folded up prematurely. “It was a fantastic concept as the appliances used to run both on gas and electricity. However, we could not continue due to the exploitative tax structure of Haryana where the plant was located. So, I decided to shut it down rather than continue in such an environment.”
Being a thoroughbred professional she decided to direct her energy into the insurance sector. Though the idea sounded great to her, those around her were very sceptical. “After all, the perception then was that people who couldn’t do anything else in life became insurance agents. And here was Raj Kapoor’s daughter and magnate Rajan Nanda’s wife all set to sell insurance policies. To say the least, the very idea was outrageous for everyone,” reminisces Ritu.
A winner’s game too
But the shock appeal made the task all the more challenging and she set about destroying the myth that only losers became agents. “I wanted to show people that this was as good a career option as any. From day one I made it a mission to change this perception,” says Ritu. In fact, most experts in the insurance sector now acknowledge her as a person with a vision who saw the boom coming in the sector after the economy opened up.
Her achievements have been mind-boggling to say the least. Today, she has over 55,000 clients of which over 8,000 come from the under-privileged strata of society. However, this list of clients does not include any names from the film industry or people whom she has close contact with.
Ritu has also endorsed LIC in a TV ad campaign as part of its image building exercise aimed at glamorising the profession of an agent. She is also the genius behind Escolife IT. “By paying a fee of Rs 100 a month, an agent can have all the information he or she needs on his/her fingertips,” says Ritu.
But life is not all work. She is an avid art connoisseur and collector and runs Rimari India, an art gallery that provides services to the corporate world and promotes lesser-known and even unknown artists.
“Rimari started about the same time that I started my career as an insurance advisor. I’ve been supplying works of art to corporate houses ever since. I buy works of budding artists and promote them,” says Ritu whose gallery has created a niche for itself and has a loyal set of corporate clients.
How does she accomplish all that she’s set for herself? “It’s simply time management,” she says. And the inspiration behind her stupendous successes is none other than her workaholic husband. “Being a successful industrialist, he commands great respect in business circles. I have always looked up to him and aspire to be as successful as he is,” she says.
Though the business acumen has come from her husband, the creativity is in her genes. Her coffee table book, Raj Kapoor Speaks is a narration of the showman’s life and takes one back to the time when he reigned supreme on the silver screen. According to Ritu the book was the toughest challenge in her life, “I never got a chance to understand and discover him during my growing years as he was always busy with his work. It was only while I was writing this book that I discovered Papa. I did a great deal of research on him, reading up extensively on whatever was already written about him — his interviews, videotapes, et al. I also interacted with people who knew him well,” she adds.
She is full of memories of her father. As a child she remembers the time when she asked him for a piano for her birthday. The next morning when she woke up, a shiny new piano stood at her bedside. “It was the same piano that Papa used while filming the song Dost Dost Na Raha… in the film Sangam.”
Now that the book is a huge success and her companies are running smoothly, is she planning to take that well-earned rest?
Certainly not. She has many more exciting projects up her sleeve. “It’s just the beginning. I have many dreams and I will not rest till I realise them.”