Friday, May 29, 2015

The Minds Behind Jurassic World: pt. 1 Simon Masrani

Simon Masrani, head of Masrani Global Corporations, spearheaded the movement to create Isla Nublar's Jurassic World.
Disclaimer: We at Smiley's News claim no ownership to anything regarding Jurassic Park or Jurassic World.

Jurassic Park was, according to its founder, the late John Parker Hammond, to be “so astounding that it would capture the imagination of the entire planet”. Like Hammond himself, the park he planned to create was outsized, bold and impractical – the first theme park in the world to possess living, breathing dinosaurs for the world to see. Featuring 15 species of dinosaurs and other extinct reptiles during their Phase A, the park's construction began on Isla Nublar and was nearly complete in 1993. The park was set to open in 1994. But chaos broke loose on June 11, 1993 when the park's computer system (which controlled almost everything in the park) failed and the dinosaurs escaped. Many people lost their lives. The island was left for abandonment. It looked like John Hammond's dream would never see the light of day...until now!

When InGen (Hammond's company) seemed to have insurmountable financial issues starting in 1993 (after the Isla Nublar Incident), you would think that Hammond's park would never come to fruition. It never would have if it weren't for the help of Masrani Global Corporation. MGC bought InGen and successfully restored it to the level of satisfaction once sought by the former founder. One duty the company's CEO, Simon Masrani, knew had to be fulfilled was the completion of Hammond's dream which comes alive as we speak!

For more details, Simon Masrani was kind enough to spare some time with my trusty, junior photographer, Daniel P. Smithwater, and I at Smiley's Newspaper headquarters. I felt honored to be speaking to such an important man. Below is my interview with Mr. Masrani.

Me: So how was Masrani Global Corporation founded and how did you become its CEO?

Masrani: Well, it was my father, Sanjay Masrani, who founded Masrani Global Corporation on February 16, 1973. The company first started out with only one division called Mascom, an ambitious telecommunications network located in the heart of India, my home country. For ten years, by father oversaw Mascom perfect its technology until it became a very popular company that had positive effects around the world. Then my father passed the business down to me.

Me: That's cool. So what does MGC do now? Obviously you've gone far beyond Mascom.

Masrani, laughing: That's an understatement, Mr. Smiley. We've expanded the company to include many different divisions around the entire world. One of our largest divisions was called Masrani Oil. Masrani Oil was responsible for putting MGC on world business radar.

Me: It “was called Masrani Oil”?

Masrani: Yes, that was the name the company started out with, because that is what that division centralized on. But Masrani Global Corporation is all about new research and innovation. That division is now called “Masrani Energy”, as of earlier this year, and is shifting its focus from oil – a fossil fuel destined to run out with time – and toward the use of cleaner energy resources, like wind, solar and hydroelectric energy.

Masrani: Now I regress. Today, the Masrani Global Corporation has holdings in both the commercial and industrial sectors, ranging from energy and telecom – as I just explained – mining, construction, engineering, real estate, technology, bioengineering and health care, along with many others. Masrani will continue to expand with time.

Me: That's really awesome. Now what is your company's connection with InGen?

Masrani: For that we have to go back in time a bit. It started in 1998. InGen was failing financially thanks to the Isla Nublar Incident and the San Diego Incident of 1997 when the T. rex escaped confinement and terrorized the city.

Me: I see.

Masrani: I was already associated with InGen to an extent, because my father was close friends with Hammond, and it was 1998 when we officially bought the company, saving it from facing Chapter 11.

Me: Don't you mean extinct?

Masrani:Yes, exactly.

Me: When did you decide to pick up the baton Hammond left behind?

Masrani: Between the years 2002 and 2004, it occurred to us that we should attempt to bring Hammond's dream to life. It was a great fantasy of his and the world deserves this wonderful attraction. So we built the park and after years of planning and construction, we'll be ready to open the park on June 12 of this year.

Me: I'm really excited.

Masrani: I'm glad. I think you'll like it.

Me: So what was it like to oversee the reconstruction of Hammond's theme park?

Masrani: For me, my Senior Assets Manager, Claire Dearing, and my head geneticist Dr. Henry Wu, it was an incredible experience.

Me: Did you ever feel discouraged?

Masrani (is quoted for saying*): Every leader in the history of the planet has had moments of discouragement. When that feeling came across me, I simply kept telling myself that 'the greatest thing we must learn in life is that nothing is impossible. We fear the unknown on a daily basis, but it is that unknown which drives us. Our species, whatever entities we may be, have been given a gift of asking why? We cannot forget that.'

Me: Speaking of Jurassic World, what dinosaur is your favorite?

Masrani: My favorite dinosaur at the park is also one of our newest. Claire Dearing can give you more information than I am permitted to at this time.

Me: That's fine. Alright, I have just a few more questions before we're done. What do you do in your past time and do you have any hidden talents you'd like to share with us?

Masrani: I'm actually fond of cricket. And hidden talents? Well, I like to play the sitar.”

Me: What's a sitar?

Masrani: Simply put, a sitar is a plucked stringed instrument used mainly in Indian classical music. It looks kind of like a guitar, if you were to compare it with American instruments.

Me: Well, I've definitely have had fun with this interview, Mr. Masrani. Thanks so much for taking the time.

Masrani: It was my pleasure.

Me: Now, to all my faithful readers, remember that Jurassic World opens on June 12 (with an accompanying movie releasing in theaters the same day). In the meantime, get ready for our following interview next week, when we'll sit and chat with Jurassic World's Senior Assets Manager, Claire Dearing and the park's head geneticist, Dr. Henry Wu!

Written by: Mr. Smiley
Photographer: Daniel P. Smithwater
Edited by: Christian Ryan

Next Issue: The Minds Behind Jurassic World: pt. 2 Dr. Henry Wu & Claire Dearing

* Had to fit that catchphrase of mine in there somewhere!

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