Despite being one of the most well-known auto journalists among the Malayali audience, Hani Musthafa is one of the most grounded and humble personalities you would ever come across. In this interview, Hani shares his journey with us.
● How did motoring journalism begin for you?
As a child I was very fascinated with automobiles. I have always leaned more towards learning stuff about automobiles than my academics. I developed an ambition to be an auto-designer but due to some family commitments I couldn’t pursue it. However, my desire to do something in the field of automobiles ended up in me writing about them. Initially I worked as a freelancer and contributed content for a local daily while I was graduating from college. In 2010, I started a TV show named Flywheel. I was lucky enough to have access to a lot of cars through family & friends from Dubai. This helped me create a niche by bringing in some dream machines to the show which helped me reach a wider audience.
● What or who has been your inspiration and why?
Bijoy Kumar Y, ex-Editor of BS Motoring has been a true inspiration. He was one of the first Malayali to be an automotive journalist from Kerala. Moreover, my passion automotive journalism increased after I started reding more about his journey.
● Have you seen a shift in audience behaviour recently?
Yes, very much. Today’s digital age is overwhelmed with content & the key to stay relevant is to move with the trend. Creating a mix of engaging, useful, informative, and entertaining content is the way ahead.
● Do you see a difference in the interest and behaviour of vernacular Vs English speaking audience?
Yes, the vernacular audience connects well as they prefer content that is relevant to the local conditions and interests. Whereas the English audience focuses more on getting first-hand information or updates.
● What are some of the biggest challenges that you face in your profession?
Lack of personal life, since there is a lot of travel involved. It becomes really difficult to spend time with family and loved ones.
● Tell us about something you would want to do as a motoring journalist and haven’t been able to do yet.
As a motoring journalist the hunger for more is what drives us. Driving to some extraordinary destinations like Iceland, going on more adventurous expeditions, driving some classic machines like 300SL are some of the items that are yet to be ticked off from my bucket list. Having said that, I can’t forget the fact that I have been blessed with some extraordinary moments of driving some of the greatest cars on some of the best roads. I have been able to create lot of memories along the way.
● What is your take on the growth of the Indian auto industry?
The growth has been exponential. For instance, a decade back, only 2-3 products were launched in a month. Today there are at least 8-10 on an average per month. This is one yardstick to measure the growth. Also, the Indian customer is moving towards personal mobility as a preferred medium of transport. Vehicles are not a luxury any longer and have become a necessity in every household. This has led to an exponential growth in the sales of automobiles.
● How do you see EVs being adopted in the coming years?
EVs are the next big thing in the automotive space. They will make their presence strongly felt in the coming decade in our country and around the world. The adoption rate of EVs is panning out to be much faster than expected for a country like India. Interesting new products and fast development of infrastructure is the reason for this, in my opinion.
● Your advice for someone who wants to take up motoring journalism as a career?
It is an industry that is shown in all its glitz and glamour, but the hard work that goes behind the scenes is what’s real. If one’s passionate enough to live through it, then there’s probably no better career for an automotive enthusiast. I call it the Power of Passion.