Lighting up Lives - Prakash Savio talks with You & I

He is the co-founder of Mowzz Entertainment Services India LLP and is the one responsible for many a successful show in the city. Although Prakash started off in the music and audio business, he moved on to become a lighting designer. Here, he tells us all about his work and other interests.    

Can you tell us a little about what you do?
I’m a lighting designer. My job is to use my creativity in understanding what the show demands, and put technology into place to illuminate and bring the stage and performers alive.

How did the idea of your business first come about?
After securing a bachelors degree in commerce from Andhra Loyola in 1992, my inclination lay towards music. My mother, Rani Emanuel who has always been a huge influence in my life, is a music teacher, and with a house full of musically inclined siblings, I grew up with music flowing through my veins.

Through a childhood friend I was introduced to Zakir Alladin (Zak) who then ran the proprietary firm Mowzz Audio that rented sound equipment alone. I was a novice and still remember my first show where he asked me to burn a few firecrackers as part of the SFX for the show. Burn I did including my hand and eye. But that did not burn down my enthusiasm, in fact it ignited the fire within me and I put in all my efforts to learn the tricks of the trade. I had no formal technical training, it was all self-taught. I read and learned, asked and debated, and got all my questions patiently answered by Zak. We were fortunate to bag shows that involved collaborations with the French and German embassies where we would have the opportunity, not only to provide equipment, but to learn a whole lot in exchange.

I was initially involved in learning all about sound and then I graduated to being a disk jockey. However, the company lacked the support of lighting equipment. We used to subcontract and outsource the lighting equipment to deliver for shows. Back in the 90’s very few companies delivered professional service. So, my job moved from sound to overlooking the outsourced light equipment. In this process I discovered my love for lights. It came naturally to me because I understood music. Zak noticed this potential and encouraged me to explore further.

We moved from manual rotary dimmers to analogue dimmer packs and in the millennium year we saw the birth of intelligent lighting in India. I underwent training with Martin Lighting Professional in Denmark and used the tools to bring value to the stage.

This resulted in the foundation of our business partnership, and soon Mowzz Audio became Mowzz Entertainment Services India LLP. Theatre, musicals, corporate conferences, concerts, parties etc. were ever growing at that time and I made it a point to use all our knowledge to make every one of our show look, sound, and feel different. Each time we did a show it would stand out as a Mowzz signature. Our client retainership is due to that Mowzz factor input.

How do you stay relevant with the latest trends in the business?
Innovation and thinking out-of-the-box has always set me apart. My influences are Pink Floyd—Pulse Concert, Faithless—Live in Copenhagen, Peter Gabriel—Growing Up Tour. These have left a huge impact on me. I am always watching, listening, and learning from the environment around me. In today’s technology race era, I try to give the audience something they can take back as a visual memory rather than just what they have clicked on their phones.  

Being aware of the new technology that has been developed and how best it could be used at your show is very important. Being knowledgeable enables me to provide solutions to our client’s need depending on their budgets.  

What is the most rewarding part of what you do?
More than the producer, it’s when the artist takes time off from main stage to compliment you and say how much fun he had performing on stage, that makes a difference. Secondly, when you can feel the audience be mesmerised from what they see and experience, you know that you have done your job well. Lastly, when the camera crew that looks through a third eye pays you a compliment you know you have covered it all. This allows me to sleep well and look forward to my next gig.

What are some of the challenges that you have faced as part of your work?
There are never-ending challenges in this line of work. Finding a suitable solution is key. Certain things are beyond our control, but finding a way around it is where expertise comes in. I have faced many challenges in these 25 years, yet I have come out strong and have learnt new things along the way.

I have a lot more to learn and achieve. Soon there will come a time when I will have to teach and share with others. That’s the circle of life.  

What are your other passions and hobbies?
I love travelling and thanks to my line of work I get to travel a lot. Interacting with and meeting people, and learning and sharing things with them makes this life’s journey worth it. I spend most of my free time with my family at home. When I interact with my two beautiful kids I realise how innocent life can be. If one can create life, imagine what more he/she is capable of doing. I credit my super supportive wife, Preetha, for helping me attain balance between my work and family.