Founder of Kapil Sharma Photography .
Let’s begin with the introduction of Five Splash and its journey through the years.
We are a 9 years’ old company and have been growing steadily over the years. The company started with its very first project in 2009, coming from one of the leading political parties, where we helped our principals with vernacular support. Since then, we have not looked back. We commissioned our very first international project in 2010. And, today we have several clients, ranging from Govt. of India to State Govts, to the leading businesses and technology companies in India, and leading blue-chip companies in Europe and the US, along with our onsite partners. I would say, it has been a difficult yet fulfilling journey because none of the core team members come from atypical BPO background. Still, we have been able to break the jinx, enabling lot many youngsters from nearby areas and women to lead their lives successfully. More than a BPO, we are an enabler company. Five Splash was established to create sustainable employment opportunities for the youths of smaller town. And, I would say, by God’s grace and my parent’s blessings, we have been able to achieve the primary objective fairly well. I joined the company 2.5 years back full time, till then it was philanthropy. And, over the last two years, we have grown by 52 and 79%, respectively. Now, we are a part of Global Impact Sourcing Coalition, which has a total of 35 niche companies across the globe, and we have joined the leaders like Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Grundfos, Tech Mahindra, etc. Long way to go, still, I believe we are on the right path. The impact has been growing since the beginning.
From starting with a team of 12 in 2009, Five Splash’s workforce now includes 600+ talented employees, with a presence in multiple regions across the country. When you look back, what are the main factors you would say contributed most to your growth?
The operations started with a small team of 12, in our residence’s basement area. And, today, we are present in 3 states, 4 cities, and 6 delivery centres, with clients across 3 major continents, and we are impacting more than 600 families directly. I believe firmly that there are a number of factors that have contributed to our growth: Persistence and the risk-taking ability of my parents. We come from a working background, not business. And, both my parents deployed all their savings to this cause. And, I think I have inherited the same. And, all my earnings from the last 10 years of work has gone into building Five Splash. Hunger to learn and contribute meaningfully to the community. We all come from a non-BPO background, still, we managed to sail through. As we live, we learn. Sticking to our values – recognizing our strengths and weaknesses effectively. The right set of people surrounding you, who can be your resounding board, who can question, mentor and guide you. So, we have been lucky enough to get the right mentorship over the last few years, that has kept us moving. Specifically, Gaurav Mehra from Aegis, Ruchir Srivastava who was with Airtel then, Bawa Grover who was on the TCS’s leadership board, and Nandita Singhal from Secure. All these people have had a great impact on the way we operate today. All these years, we have been able to show the growth path to a fair amount of people who joined us and continue to work with us. So, in all, it is about the determination this team has got. We are doing a lot of new stuff, which is going to reflect in our strategy for the next couple of years.
How do Five Splash and its outsourcing services help customers? What are the various markets you cater to and the services you offer?
First of all, we avoid using the word “outsourcing” in any of our conversations. We believe in “impact partnering”. It is engraved in our vision and mission statement. Five Splash’s foundation has been built on sustainability objectives. By virtue of our business model and the places we operate from, we focus on providing back-office support services to our customers in the overseas market, it ranges from basic support to technical support, which might involve emails or chat support, IVR support, invoices, claims processing, etc. So, anything which is not their core, we make it our core business. With respect to the Indian market, we focus on providing contact centre services and end-to-end BPM services. Vernacular delivery is one of our strengths, wherein we provide support to our customers in 10+ regional languages through our delivery centres in Northern and Southern part of the country. Remember, while our arbitrage is Quality of Services, by virtue of our model, we deliver services to the customers at highly competitive cost points. We are carving out market specific services and are soon going to launch services that will enable smaller industries to focus on their core business.
What is OSPREY DMS solution? Which industries can gain benefit from this offering?
Osprey DMS is a document management solution from Five Splash. This was built and tested in the telecom market. However, it can be customized and is industry agnostic. Customers can scan and manage their document flow within this system. It can be either be provided as a license or as a service. Apart from this, our technology team is capable enough to customize systems as per their business needs.
What are the main benefits of outsourcing call centre services? Why do companies do that?
We at Five Splash firmly believe that each business has its core, and they should just be focusing on the same. Like, in our case, we also just focus on providing BPO/BPM services to our customers, and our logistics, security, housekeeping, etc is taken care of by the experts. So, for any business, it is important to identify the key aspects and impact areas. And, that’s where an organization like us comes into the picture. In the world of technology, while most of the things can be done away with self-help, there are a lot of areas wherein people who have gained expertise in process, product, technology come handy. Key benefits include flexibility, scalability, process excellence, efficiency building, deploying the right technology for right use, etc.
Can you please tell our readers the differences between inbound and outbound call centre services?
Inbound services simply mean when a user or customer or stakeholder wants to reach out to a company for some help or assistance. Outbound services are usually meant for scenarios when a customer or partner or stakeholder is approached from our end for any input required, information requested or grievance redressal. Overall, the objective is to provide omni-channel options like email, chat, web, call, self-help for the customers so that they can use the services in a better way.
Considering that there are numerous outsourcing vendors in the market, what factors should companies consider while choosing an outsourcing partner?
This is a great question! Often, companies get carried away with the names. Ideally, in today’s scenario, it is recommended to have someone who is ready to become a partner rather than just a vendor. That’s because outsourcing comes with a norm that changes are never instant. So, here are a few key aspects: Whether the partner has done its homework before discussing the business processes. While experience is important, it is better to focus on competency and readiness to learn quickly. A company that can complement your business needs by being flexible, quick and supportive. Business Continuity Plan is implemented in the model or not. What all kind of services can be offloaded. Ideally, companies should focus on not having too many partners, it at times leads to chaos.
FIVE SPLASH! An interesting name. How did you come up with the name of your company?
Five Splash is all about life. So, while the origination was based on the kind of services organization wanted to offer, we ended up realizing that the essence resides with various elements of life, i.e. Jal, Vayu, Agni, Aakash and Dharti. We believe every one of us is a star in a way or the other. So, we are just looking to encapsulate all-stars together.
Please tell us about your awards and recognition. How do they help you deliver better services?
We were awarded Social Change Agent award by the World CSR Congress in 2015. We were picked amongst a few changemakers across the country to be on the mission Global Action on Poverty (GAP) being run by Head-Held-High foundation, supported by Tata Trusts in 2017. Osprey DMS was awarded at the STPI’s BPM product conclave last year in Bangalore. And, now, we are part of the Global Impact Sourcing Coalition (GISC), officially. And, on this journey, we were covered by YourStory, YoSuccess, DNA, The Hindu, etc I believe all these recognitions have enabled us to walk a mile extra and be persistent on this journey. Many mistakes that we would put such social recognition as our arbitrage, but in the end, it is all about business. So, our main arbitrage still remains – quality and openness. So, we have strengthened our values system, it is known as CATER, and everyone in the organization follows it rigorously. Our customers have appreciated our speed, openness, quality of service and flexibility at par. Today, we process more than 150k transactions every day and handle around 30k calls from across the locations. Every day, we are getting better.
That’s really great! To wrap up, please tell us about the culture in your organization and the team Five Splash. Also, give us a sneak peek into your roadmap 2019.
2019 is looking very vibrant. With our participation in the challenge thrown at GISC, we are looking to commit and contribute towards providing jobs to 300+ more people in the year 2019. We are looking to set up one more delivery centre in the East, with the idea to provide opportunities to the youths of East and Northeast locally. We are looking to strengthen our board by bringing leaders who have seen this industry grow. Also, strategically, we are focusing on building tech-driven solutions and services for Indian as well as international market. We are partnering with Kofax to deliver services around Digital Transformation and gradually towards Robotic Process Automation. So, in all, it looks like we are up for another interesting year ahead while continuing on the growth path.
Did it ever cross your mind that the whole Sunil Grover controversy might affect your film?
I don’t feel that will happen. When two friends fight, it’s their thing. Every family and its members have issues. Whoever will go to the theatre too must have faced something like this for sure in life. I don’t think that people will decide to watch the film, vis-a-vis this factor or connect it with the film.
What about the support from the film industry?
Support ki baat karein toh Bachchan saab ne itna achha tweet kiya tha film ke baarein mein. Even Shah Rukh bhai wrote something for the team. So, it’s not like I don’t have anyone’s support. Maybe, because the show is off air now and people don’t get to see my photographs with all the industry actors, it might seem that I’m completely cut off from the industry. But I’m very much a part of the industry. I don’t think the whole controversy has affected that at all.
Did anyone from the industry reach out to you?
When my health wasn’t fine, when so many times shoots got cancelled, people from the industry called me to inquire about my well-being. There were stories where people said that I refused to shoot and sent Shah Rukh Khan back, but he was so sweet. He was more concerned about my health. Next day, he was shooting on another set, but when he got to know I was on sets, he came over post midnight. Then, we sat in his car for an hour or more, where he asked me how I was feeling. Likewise, there were Anil Kapoor, Arjun Rampal, and Arjun Kapoor, too. Everyone has enjoyed on my show. Toh ek toh unko lagne laga ki paanch saal se itna mazaa kar rahen hai, suddenly isko kya hua. But I genuinely had some problems and everyone sent me their best wishes.
In what ways have you changed over the last few months?
I haven’t seen much of a change in me! (Smiles) But yes, I have become more aware. I now know and understand the intention with which people around me, tell me things. I know what to listen and what to avoid. I am not too intelligent and I believe people way easily. But I have become calmer and even if there’s a bad situation, I try and maintain my calm all the time. I used to hyperventilate earlier and because the show is in my name, all their problems used to come to me. When two artistes were fighting among themselves, I had to interfere and if I scolded anyone, then the news would come twisted in my name. So now, I’m extremely aware of all that. So ab koi kuch bhi kahe, mujhe kuch nahi bolna hai. I will just focus on my work. Thoda samajhdar ho gaya hoon, shayad 5-10 percent.
Recently, you were at a rehab centre too, for your severe alcoholism...
(Cuts in) I wasn’t at a rehab. I don’t know who’s spread these rumours. Yes, it’s true that I started drinking a lot. But it wasn’t an addiction. I just took to the bottle because of anxiety and depression, after reading such news about myself. I went to Bangalore to Ayurvedagram and it isn’t a rehab. It’s for detox. There would be two-three massages everyday, you will be put on a strict vegetarian diet which they make alag se, then they will prescribe you some Ayurvedic medicines. They wake you up early mornings and make you do yoga. I used to have my breakfast at 7.30 am every morning there, then lunch at 1 pm. Life mein kabhi nahi tha yeh! I used to do meditation too. So, the first two-three days, it seemed like a jail. But then, I got adjusted to everything. But people have called it a rehab which it’s not.
There are still reports that you haven’t been able to give up alcohol...
Yes. Even after going to Bangalore, I stayed there for 15 days and they went great. They wanted me to stay there for 40 days and they wanted to control my lifestyle because I had a weakness and my food habits here were disturbed. But once I came back, I started drinking again. Again when I came back to Mumbai, to my same house, the same things started running in my mind and I again took to the bottle. Then, I realised that this isn’t the solution to it because it depresses you even further. When I keep working, I stay happy. But now, I’m busy with this film and the mixing, so now I don’t have time to do all that which is good.
How do you plan to control that problem?
When my trailer was ready, everyone asked me why I was still sitting at home and not coming out to promote the film. Then, I told them, ‘Kab karna hai trailer launch batao!’ So, just a day before the trailer launch, I gave up drinking regularly the way I used to, earlier.
And you didn’t drink post that till date?
No, a few times in between, I did. But those weren’t the same situations. It was not chronic drinking where I would drunk and get sloshed completely.
But will you ever give it up completely?
Of course, I want to. Because now I’ve seen that this hasn’t borne any great results for me anyway. (Laughs) But you know what I feel. No one stops drinking, kisi ke kehne pe. But there comes a time in everyone’s life when they just give it up. Although, even at a party in Dubai, when all the actors had travelled with us, they were all drinking but I wasn’t. I didn’t even touch it and I had made up my mind. That was last November. So three months, I didn’t drink at all. Again in February, there was a lot of fog when we were shooting and dil kar padha so socha ki chalo udhar thoda sa kar lete hain. (Laughs) There were a few problems in life and 50 things were happening at the same time. The fog had delayed my film, then an artist passed away and uske upar we had to go to Australia. When a man is upset, you lose the perspective of thinking what should be done that time. I didn’t have an elder guiding me. I stay alone here, so yes, the bottle was there and I just started drinking.
How does your mother react to stories about you?
Yes, my mom gets to know on hearsay, when people come and read out reports to her. But she’s a seedhi gaonwali. She kept asking me why I stopped my show. First few days, I lied to her and told her that it was because of the strike. I didn’t want to disturb her. But then, she would get to know from idhar-udhar that Kapil’s health isn’t great. So then she started worrying about me. I called her here in Mumbai and I would stay in front of her all the time at home. But andar jaake apne kamre mein raat ko pee loon toh usko kaha pata chalega (gets emotional). I have cheated my mom and I’m not proud of it. My mental condition wasn’t okay and I didn’t want to disturb my mother but now, she’s happy. In my film, she has a cameo. Actually, my sister and my bhabhi and my nephew are all there in the film, so saari family ko leke bana diya maine. (Laughs)
Your first film worked at the box office. Does that put pressure on you with your second film?
No, I just feel that my first film was dependent on the directors and Abbas-Mustan had done a fantastic job with it. The man who wrote the story also works with me on my TV shows so I was sure that the script was good and the directors will execute it well. Firangi is one film that I have been part of, since its inception. The writer who’s my friend, wrote it keeping me in mind. They know what I would be able to do and what would cause me discomfort. It is based in an era where people have only seen the dark side. The Partition is a difficult period of all of us. We have made it lighter — how people used to celebrate, fall in love, whether they were able to communicate love. So, when the product is ready, you don’t need to worry. Otherwise, also, I am a tension-free person.
Comedy is your forte. But Firangi doesn’t have too many comic elements. Was it a conscious move?
Absolutely. It was designed that way. Because when you are making a story in that era, there are different characters and it’s a human drama. We cannot forcefully put comedy scenes in the film, just for the heck of it. Yes, since I’m there, comedy will obviously be a part of the script. But Firangi has a lot more than just comedy. People told me when I did Kis Kis Ko Pyaar Karoon, they felt like they watched a two-hour long Kapil show. But this is different and has all the other elements too.
Have you decided on the future of your show? Will it be back?
Of course! Yes, there have been stories about the show not returning but that’s not true. We have always come up with different shows always. From Comedy Circus to The Kapil Sharma Show, we have done different things with different people. The characters and the actors keep changing and it doesn’t make a difference to me. But they all are with me and they were asking me when I was coming back with the show. Ali (Asgar), too, was asking me that. Baat hoti rehti hai.
You also announced you were getting married to Ginni Chathrath soon. What’s the status?
Wohi chakkar hai — ek time pe show kar liya, film bhi kar liya, ab shaadi karne ke liye bolenge toh zyada mushkil ho jayega! (Laughs) I feel I need to be more settled before getting married. I don’t think I’m ready for marriage right now.
How did Ginni react to all these stories?
She doesn’t read newspapers or watch news that much. If someone comes and tells her about things, then that’s about it. So bechari woh aisi hi hai. She’s just concerned about my health, that’s it. When she gets to hear of things about my health, she calls me and I cool her down saying I’m fine.
What kind of relationship do your family members share with your girlfriend?
Honestly, my family and she are more connected. I have stayed in Mumbai only and I go there only once a year on Diwali. So they have a stronger bond. They stay in Amritsar-Jalandhar so she’s extremely close to my mother. Actually, my mom knows more about Ginni than I do Which is why my mom is forcing me to get married to her. She feels I’m mad and Ginni is perfect for me because she can handle that madness.
There were always stories about your and Preeti Simoes’ relationship. What went wrong?
When we used to work together, because we did that a lot, it became like a relationship. See there’s one thing that you love somebody, you’re committed to that person and are planning to get married. We have worked so madly together so we have had our share of crazy fights with each other as well. So iss chakkar mein hum log kabhi uss zone mein gaye hi nahi. To see whether we can stay like this in our personal life as well. We always had healthy fights but there are a few things you just don’t know the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of. This was one such thing in my life. Main toh yahi ka hi hoke reh gaya tha. I wouldn’t go to Punjab often but there again is an added family pressure and sometimes, you just can’t manage everything (speaks softly). You feel sad about it.
Lastly, have you ever thought — what if you lose everything you’ve got, how would you deal with things?
I was initially rejected for Laughter Challenge. I gave another audition next year and I was selected. Then I went on to win the show. I did six seasons of Comedy Circus and I won in all of them. Mujhe laga ki ab baat winner ki ya uski nahi hai. I wanted to do something, from the heart completely. Then, we came up with Comedy Nights concept. When I made the sets, people passed comments like, ‘Yeh kya set banaya, aise toh hote nahi kabhi reality shows mein’. I asked them to just let me do things my way and then when it became a hit, everyone stopped talking. The Kapil Sharma Show also became a hit after that and imagine Jackie Chan chose to come to our show and nowehere else. So that was a big achievement for me personally and professionally. My first film also worked well. So till date, I haven’t faced something like that. But yes, there were rejections initially in my career but I’m someone who will accept it and try again. But you can’t get scared of it and sit at home. Phir toh aage flop hone ka bhi chance nahi raha, if you don’t do anything. At least, you should do something, jiske liye aap flop hone ke layak toh ho! (Smiles)
How did you step foot into photography?
It all started in 2010 me being a kid. My uncle is a hobbyist wildlife photographer. I used to carry his tripod and hang around Mumbai outskirts with him on weekends. I learnt the basics from him. Apparently, he took me to Ranthambore national park in 2011. We didn't see a tiger though it the love for wildlife and photography embarked. That's how I came Into this field :)
What camera do you recommend for beginners?
Any camera will do as a beginner. The bottom line is to learn Photography. Go with any camera that you can afford. Invest on learning the skills and understand the camera fully. Push the limits and keep experimenting. After some time, you'll automatically figure out when and what you need to upgrade
Is iPhone a good substitute to DSLRs?
No ! iPhone can never be compared to a DSLR. The advanced Autofocusing mechanism, frame rate, image quality and other settings of a DSLR cannot compete with a iPhone. you can't take action shots of birds with a iPhone, you need a DSLR with a proper lens for the reach
Which software do you recommend to edit photographs?
I prefer Photoshop and Snapseed (Mobile App). Its easy to use as well as understand. PS is a very powerful Image editing software which is used widely.
What is the best way to put out content?
Be Original . Be regular. if you want your content to get noticed, support it with a good caption. you should've uniqueness in your images. use hashtags (keywords). understand the social media platform and their insights. that's how you can grow your page
How should one deal with criticism from clients?
Try to be polite but be straightforward. if you know things have been messed up from your part, accept it and apologize. Tell them, it wont repeat in near future. if you're not on the wrong side, be straightforward but with politeness. But always put your 100% in trying to satisfy your client. they are your source of income. you need to keep them happy otherwise there's no shortage of any competitors in the market of any field, you may loose your client.
Is the automatic mode useful?
auto mode in your camera is OK to start with as a total beginner where you can focus more on understanding the camera buttons and how each button function. But AUTO mode is not at all recommended for serious photography. once you understand your camera properly, learn the theory part of photography and move from Auto mode to AV,TV or M mode.
What lens should one own to learn basic photography?
Lens doesn't matter to learn the basics. Camera is what matters. Any basic DSLR is okay to learn the basics. you can learn photography even from a basic Canon 1200D /Nikon D 5300 and a 18-55mm lens.
Was there a time when you were dissatisfied with your content?
Yes absolutely. Even today sometimes I feel I'm dissatisfied with my content. Once you shoot something, for the next 2 months, you'll love that image. but as you become more experienced and gain more knowledge and skills, eventually over a period of time, you start disliking your own images that you've cliked in the past.
What should one do to photograph objects in low lighting space?
The very first thing you need to understand is it all boils down to the shutter speed you are getting in low light
What is the key to achieving sharp focus?
There are various factors for achieving sharp focus :
What is a UV filter for a lens? How important is it for amateurs?
UV filters protects the lens from UV light from the sun. But, in today's world of digital photography, with advance lenses and cameras, UV filter has absolutely no role in digital photography. infact, it degrades the image quality when added in front of your lens. so avoid using UV filters or if u want to use one, use one of a very good quality and not the cheap ones l
Is there a photographer that you admire?
I personally admire Varun Aditya a lot. He is a compostion rockstar and looks at the world from a totally different perspective. ..
What was the most challenging moment in your career?
Trying to get clients and make them believe that a 17 year old boy can teach photography...
What's the advice you would like to give to an aspiring photographers?
There's no shortcut to success. you need to work hard to come up with a good content, interact with different photographers, good networking, showcase your work on social media. all these things need to go step by step and it will take time... Be patient, dont loose hope and keep chasing the light.
What role did your educational background play in your career?
Being a bachelor of science who specializes in zoology, I had a good understanding about animals, their behaviour and their habitat. Being a wildlife photographer, I could anticipate a shot by looking at the behavior, predict what shall happen next and be ready with the settings. this gave me more freedom the shoot and focus on composition
What do you do in your spare time?
I love to watch web series and play cricket. these are the two things I do when I'm not doing photography...
When did you develop a passion for photography?
The passion for photography developed way back in 2011. It gradually grew year after year and from 2016 I got more serious into wildlife photography and started mentoring other photographers.
What is the difference between raw and jpg files?
JPEG file is an image file which is generally of small size. Once you click a image on your camera and when you see it on the screen, that file is a JPEG file which is already processed (edited) by the camera itself. you have no control over that edit. On the other hands, RAW file is pure RAW, without any editing done by the camera RAW file is a DATA file. It's a huge file and contains a lot of unprocessed information. They are very powerful and if u make a mistake in exposure or White balance or Shadows/Highlights, you can correct it to a certain extent in RAW file while editing but it's extremely tough to recover the details in JPEG.
Do you recommend signing up for a photography course?
Yeah. I would definitely recommend in signing up a photography course or attending a photography workshop or photography tour. We spend a lot of money in buying our equipments and then if we fail to achieve the desired results, we blame the camera. One needs to understand that camera is just a tool for photography and its it's the skills that matter. So invest a little in learning photography to improve your skills, understand the fundamentals and start taking better images.
Is it important to stick to the rule of thirds in photography?
No, not at all ! There's nothing called as RULE in photography. All of them are just Guidelines to me. Sometimes, in order to get creative with your images, you need to BREAK the rules. Afterall, how you convey the story matters... Dont limite yourself to the rules. Rules are meant to be broken ;)
What lenses should a professional own?
If one is professional, Lenses hardly matter to him. There's nothing called as a ideal lens. It all depends upon the way you see your subjects. Choose a lens that your scene demands. Sometimes, I use a wide angle lens to convey a story and sometimes a telephoto lens. Answering your question, every photographer should have a wide angle and telephoto lens with him atleast
What should one do to become a celebrity photographer?
I would say, uniqueness. You need to stand out from others in order to get noticed. Let it be specialising in anything, portraits or backlist, you need to be a Master of one specific technique. Apart from that, you need to communicate with your audience, Collab with different people and institutes, keep posting your content regularly and specialize in something.