Bengaluru: How Viren Khanna’s business model paid off | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: A glance at hyped party organiser Viren Khanna’s bio provides ample insight into the life he led. A dog owner, a people’s person, traveller and a man who loved parties. Most of all, Khanna was enterprising. When the pandemic put a stop to parties, he ventured into open-air film screenings.
If you’ve even casually partied in Bengaluru, chances are you have heard of him. And if you’ve wanted to get in on the hype and signed up to his bulk SMS messages, you would have received a heads-up on parties across some of Bengaluru’s best clubs and lounges.
For a woman partygoer, RSVPing ahead meant a free entry, but for a stag, it would mean shelling out Rs 4,000. With Khanna’s parties, the stags didn’t mind the cash. “The crowd at his parties was good,” said party regular Adil Kashyap, adding, “They were from a known circle. And of course there were the expats.”
A Delhiite who moved to Bengaluru in the early ’90s to study at RV College of Engineering, Khanna almost immediately got into the party business.
In a magazine interview in 2014, Khanna recounts throwing a party at a farmhouse — a party meant for 100, but 800 landed up. It became the talk of the town. His career as a party organiser flourished in spite of a ban on live music and a 11.30pm deadline. Khanna recounts enlisting the help of an expat’s powerful Bengaluru boyfriend to get around police raids, besides much more.
“His parties across 5-star hotels and clubs were normal. You had alcohol flowing, a good crowd and good music,” said Dalbir Sandhu, a photographer who covered Khanna’s parties for over a decade. “It was the after-parties, mostly at his house, where the buzz was. Normally, they’d go on till 5am.”
Khanna’s success lay in hassle-free tie-ups with venues and a revenue-sharing model where he, allegedly, pocketed the cover charge, while the venue made its money on booze and food.
“His Holi parties were so good that hotels would vie to tie up with him every year,” says Sandhu who also recalls covering Khanna’s pool parties on weekends. “Everyone would rush to get into the swimming pool and I’d be left holding their expensive phones.”
Since Khanna’s arrest his friend Shaili G’s phone hasn’t stopped pinging. “Friends messaged me to ask if I was safe. We are peers in the sense that I used to host brunch parties for the expats, CXO and CEO crowd on weekends and Viren would organise parties for youngsters.”
Shaili added, “Irrespective of whether he is culpable or not, I feel bad because he cannot be the only one who’s being made to look guilty.”
(Names changed on request)

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Sagar Biswas

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