Nakim Uddin’s Successful Quest

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Nakim Uddin’s Successful Quest

 

Nakim Uddin’s name is accentuated in Nepali cinema industry with his pioneering high quality and international level entertainment facilities in Nepal – the QFX cinemas. A self-made entrepreneur with a relentless pursuit of excellence, Uddin is also a travel enthusiast and a regular movie-goer. His story is an inspiration to aspiring entrepreneurs who pursue to establish ventures that based on their passions. 

 

Nepal, at the moment, is a virgin land. It is up to the people to grab the opportunity and excel in it. - Nakim Uddin

 

Early days

Uddin’s younger days and family background shaped the grassroots for what he is now today. He completed his schooling from Adarsha Vidya Mandir (AVM) and finished his undergraduate degree in business in 1986 from Taiwan. He was initially involved in his father’s Pote (translated into English as Glass Beads) business and expanded the business to greater degrees so much so that the company was designing for the Harriet’s in London. Adhering to his passion for travelling in his early 20’s, he asked his father to free himself from the business and went backpacking around Europe and travelled the world around the Asia-Pacific and Australia. 

His personal entrepreneurial journey started after returning back to Nepal; he opened up a travel agency of his own in 1991. The business was running smoothly until the Maoist insurgency hit the tourism industry and that enforced him to shut his business too in 2001. 

 

Passion to Profession

When his tourism business shut down, his love for movies gave rise to the idea of Quest Entertainment. Watching movies every Sunday was almost like a religion for Uddin while he was studying in Taiwan. His passion for movies made him realize the lack of an international level movie going experience in Nepal. As an entrepreneur, he spotted a great opportunity. He then partnered with his software engineer brother-in-law Bhaskar Dhungana and producer Rajesh Siddhi, who shared the same passion for movies, to open up Quest Entertainment in 2001.

 

Executing the idea

The concept of digitised cinema was difficult to sell in the industry then. Nepali cinema was running on celluloid while cinema goers were used to creaky seats and rowdy crowds. Film distribution was also problematic. The politics among the cinema poets of Nepali cinema was impeding to move forward with the idea. Pitching the idea of cinema digitisation and the need of new technology in Nepali cinema at a time of war was in itself another struggle. The key to success for Uddin in the midst of such turmoil was his continuous belief, the zeal to learn and ability to develop himself and know the right people to interact with.

Uddin shares that together with his partners, constituting a team of diverse professionals, they travelled around the world to educate themselves and interacted with Nepali government officials and people from the private sector to sell the concept of digitised cinema in Nepal. Uddin’s learning from his involvement as a member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) and Young President’s Organization (YPO) added to his road to success. 

 

 The continuous zeal to learn, grow and develop, and transparency in his own works are what he believes has brought him so far.

 

Uddin and his team could have tied up with an international brand, but they decided to opt for more difficult way – they wanted to take their own brand to another level. They invested Rs. 120 million in launching QFX at a time when most investors were shying away from Nepal. They first acquired Jai Nepal, followed by Kumari hall, which were renovated and launched with comfortable seats, hi-tech projectors and sound systems, clean interiors and unmatched customer service experience. 

 

Personal tussle

As a Muslim man who had married a Brahmin woman, Uddin was disowned by his own family for about a year. During that period, he was already somewhat financially secure and had made a name for himself. He recalls how he realised the need to believe in himself to keep going and the importance of conviction he needed to have as an entrepreneur. To anyone who does not have a support system in their struggles in life, family might not be as important, says Uddin.

Uddin makes balancing work and family sound easy. He dedicates much of his time to his work but also makes sure to spend quality time with his family – be it watching movies with them at least once a week or going out on exotic getaways with his wife and two sons. 

 

 

Contributing to growth of Nepali cinema

With the establishment of Jai Nepal and Kumari with upgraded technology, Nepali cinema went through a shift from analog to digital projection. As it was gaining popularity, Uddin and his team recognised the need to brand their venture and consolidated the theatres under the name ‘QFX cinemas’. They launched QFX Civil mall next at the Civil Mall, Sundhara, Kathmandu, and recently QFX Jalma at Narayanghat, Chitwan.

 

 

 Apart from introducing world class cinema going experience, Uddin has also produced movies like Kagbeni and Sano Sansar which have redefined Nepali film-making with digitised cinema. These movies immensely contributed to development of the Nepali film industry. Gaining rich popularity among the young artists for his creative production ideas, Uddin’s work has been recognized by FNCCI with an Excellence Award.

Even though many have witnessed the success of QFX and his production of exemplary movies in the Nepali film industry, Uddin believes that he is yet to achieve his ultimate goal of establishing QFX as a renowned brand throughout the country and overseas. The continuous zeal to learn, grow and develop and transparency in his own works are what he believes has brought him so far. He continues to implement them to grow further and achieve his dreams.

At present, Uddin is busy in expanding QFX further by opening a new theatre at Labim Mall, Lalitpur. The theatre in Lalitpur has been under construction as per international standards for months, and will be using 4k processors for the first time in Nepal. 

 

Future plans

Uddin has tried his hands at different businesses, but there has been nothing like QFX in his career. He believes in experiencing several things rather than sticking to just one; the mantra, he believes, is required to nourish oneself to become successful. He is also involved in mentorship programs and is the co-founder of Himalayan Climate Initiative.  

Besides the entertainment industry, Nakim is investing in introducing the Punjab Grill franchise and Mango Tree Thai Bistro in Nepal. He is also investing in the accessories brand Perllini & Mel for his wife to introduce their shoes and bags in the Nepali market.

 

 

He believes in experiencing several things rather than sticking to just one; the mantra, he believes, is required to nourish oneself to become successful

 

Words of advice to aspiring entrepreneurs

As much as he’d like to spend all day in pyjamas at home, Uddin stresses on the need to struggle and work hard as an entrepreneur and businessman; there is no shortcut to success. Being involved in various mentorship programs, his message to aspiring entrepreneurs is: “Nepal, at the moment, is a virgin land. It is up to the people to grab the opportunity and excel in it.”

 

*All photos are taken from Nakim Uddin’s Facebook profile on his request.

 

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