“Airwaves belong to the people”


India might be the oldest and the most successful democracy in the world but it’s really the last decade, which empowered people. As the social media and Internet revolutionized the way people lived and behaved in this country. Its media which empowered the people from Tehelka to the resent CWG exposures to Mumbai blast coverage to ugly money display in parliament to cricket scandals to reality shows to pink chaddies to meter jams, by making public opinion count, aam admi is the king today decides who can do what and when and how.

This is the beginning of  “Democracy 2.0”. Empowered by 650 million mobile phones loaded with FM radio’s and over 200 million traditional radio sets new revolution is about to begin in the real India from an unexpected medium called Radio.

What Facebook and Twitter are doing to urban India, radio can do to rural India, only if the government were to wake up and allow community radio to spread like wildfire.

Pandit Nehru put pressure on radio to help in “Social modernization” of independent India.  How true? Social modernization can only be achieved by debate and exchange of ideas between people, every revolution in the modern world used radio to propagate and influence people to their ideologies including Netaji Bose.

Linguistic diversity is never been respected as mush as it should in India, we have always looked at India as three-language nation: Hindi, English and Tamil. What can we do to a country where a dialect changes every 24 kms? Radio might just be the answer.

Can “Akashvani” become “Prajavani”?

Creation of Gandhi font.


Or is he a different type?

In hatred he saw love. In fear, courage. In weakness he saw strength. And in violence, truth. In cruelty he saw kindness. In anger he saw humanity. And in struggle, he saw peace. He saw things through his soul that are invisible to the eye. Yet through his eyes, we can still see the shining light of humanity. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. A different type.

Above are the words came out of Agnello Dias when I told him about my intention to create a font for Gandhi.

” There is no god higher than truth.” is what he said and is what got imprinted in my mind  ever since I was a little boy, my grand parents always told me stories of Gandhi at bedtime, I am still a vegetarian thanks to the impression he made on me. I am just a spec in billions who follow him. Once he said “Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.”

When Indian Industrialist Vijay Mallya salvaged the pride of a nation by bringing back the priced possession of a man who owned nothing. The day New York auctioneer announced auctioning of Mahatma’s spectacles the nation put her head down in shame, as embarrassed Indian government’s  desperate attempts to stall the action failed, Mallya’s $1.8 millon came to the rescue.

His glasses has a deep significance to all Indians, when he gave away the glasses in 1930’s to an army colonel he said ” these gave me vision to free India”. Today as we live in a free India we still are slaves to violence, terrorism, untouchability, communalism and many more evils. A young nation celebrates holiday on his birthday than his wisdom as Nitesh Tiwari one of our copywriters put it.

How do we make him and his vision relevant and how do we make people try to see the world through his eyes? Than the Idea of a typeface created out of his glasses came about.

Typographers from Leo Burnett went on to create this marvelous Gandhiji font in Devanagari and the team is working overtime to launch english and other Indian languages. The website went live last night http://www.gandhijifont.com

What’s the best way to keep Gandhi’s spectacles away from auctioneers than this?


“Indian print slipped into coma a decade ago.”


Shocking but true. What is keeping print advertising art alive is the pro-active\pro-award work. Once most loved advertising medium is dying and helplessly staring into nothingness, hopelessly waiting for a miraculous recovery. Who can kindle the hope? Kindle? Or will the Apple’s of the world pad-up for the revival of written word?

Kindle and our very own Chetan Bhaghat are bringing readers back or if I may say so, bringing a newer generation of readers. My children never read “Tower of silence” or “Hobbit” or “Watership down”; they don’t look up to Ann Rand or Hermann Hesse. Only newspaper they are interested is Bombay Times.

Reading books or for that matter any printed word is becoming rarest of rare things to happen, if they do happen than, that’s the day papa’s like me celebrate. While multi-screen revolution and evolution may keep words alive and evolve, what about print advertising? Do we need to get satisfied with sale and escort services ads? Will the sleeping beauty called print resting in coma move any muscle someday? Or will it rest in the book of Eli?


Once brands and issues use to put forth compelling and persuasive arguments like the ones Agnello Dias does for “Aman ke Asha” or Mohammad Khan’s argument for a price hike of 50 paisa for Kingston cigarettes or Adrian Homes Insurance ads or Bill Bernbach’s logic for Jewish Rye. The art of writing persuasive copy is gone, most of the copy writing in print today is salesman copy written by writers with content copy mind-set.

Once a client and a media agency head in a drunken state told me that print can’t deliver emotions therefore we are using print as informative or reminder medium. Hence there are no theme ads scheduled. I almost cried “ Get your heads checked ***holes” like in dreams only I could hear my voice.

When Mohammad Khan advertised for “Vadilal” readers licked the pictures of the ice-cream, when Ajit Patel shot a Premier Padmini, thousands of cars rolled out of the shelves, Elsie Nanji went to jail for Action shoes. Passionate writers and art directors sold many emotions in print.

Chetan Bhaghat, Agnello Dias and Kindle’s of the world are the only hope to make printed word to talk again.

“Ganesh” most loved god by people. And most fascinated by artist.


Today Hindus celebrate the festival of “Ganesh Chaturti”, where Lord Ganesh was made head of all deities by his father Lord Shiva, religion apart, Ganesh the half elephant- half human, short, fat and has rat as his vehicle is the most loved god in India, he cuts across all religious and physical boundaries. In Bangkok or Barampur  no business is conducted without worshiping him, similarly there is no child in the sub-continent who can not draw Ganesha. His physical appearance and his stature as god of gods and his victory over his smart brother made him as an identifiable hero with kids. And growing up with this affinity is what makes him the favorite amongst the creative people. Like kids there is no poet, writer, painter or a caricaturist who had not dabbled with this lovable god’s image. Great painters right from Raja Ravi Varma to M F Hussain all were fascinated by him which is evident from their work.

The greatest contribution to Lord Ganesha came from the much celebrated Calendar art of Shivakasi a small town in Tamilnadu. Today Shivakasi is the second largest printing capital of the world only after Gutenberg of Germany what started as a backyard litho printing units of British India, developed into rich hindu calendar art/ film poster studios to present day offset.

As a child I used to make clay Ganesha for the festival celebrations, now my daughter follows the tradition.

“Famous brands make creatives famous.”


Young creative people often shy away from working on big brands, it is becoming extremely difficult to attract good talent to work on country’s biggest brands. The reason being: You have to work with-in a given box, younger ones wants the freedom to think freely and fit brands to their ideas than the other way round. The discipline of brief, research and listening to consumers/ people is too much of a bore these days to youngsters. I like the freshness and energy youth brings to the table but hate the indiscipline which tags along.

There are few reasons why young creatives should work on big brands:

  1. Piyush: Cadbury’s, Fevicol, Luna, SBI, Ponds, Asian Paints and Perfetti
  2. Balki: Pepsodent, Fair & Lovely, Surf, Idea and Bajaj
  3. Prasoon Joshi: Coca Cola, Perfetti-Happydent
  4. Agnello Dias: Rin, Thums Up, Nike, Sony, Indian Oil and Times of India
  5. Rajiv Rao: Hutch, Vodafone and Zoo zoo’s.
  6. Madhu Bhandari: Fair & Lovely, Pepsodent, J
  7. Priti Nair: Axe, Balbir Pasha, Clinic, Surf and Green Ply
  8. Ravi Deshpande : Cadbury’s, Shoppers Shop and Asian Paints
  9. Chax: Brooke Bond, J&J, Airtel, Docomo and Indian Oil
  10. Abhajit Awasti : Cadbury’s, ITC, Asian Paints, Limca, Sprite and Perfetti.

Imagine if these legends were not to work on the brands they worked. would they be as famous as they are today? Big brands give you big canvas and big bucks. What else you need to be famous?. All these humble creative people ( I have known all of them for several decades now) have given there lives and have sacrificed personal time to work on big brands and I guarantee you they have the same appetite even today.

It’s a wonderful feeling when you see the brands you worked on are the brands people love and you have a little part in making them lovable.

“5o die as a result of striking doctors and world’s largest democracy goes numb.”


Residents Doctors of PBM Hospital raise slogans during their strike in Bikaner on Tuesday. Photo: PTI

Shocking! If reports were to believed as of this minute over 50 patients died last 3 days due to striking doctors in western state of Rajasthan. And 1.2 billon strong Indian population has gone numb after handful of doctors held the nation to a ransom. If this is what is democracy than who wants it? How can any nation allow the emergency services to on strike? Who can assure public safety? Can paramedics/ fire/ rescue / army / police services be allowed to go on strike?

Of course everyone has a problem and a right to seek a solution. Can that be allowed to go to this extent of claiming innocent lives? Neither am I an activist nor an expert, my feet went numb when  I saw the news this evening on television. Only thing I could muster is some strength to write this blog.

I have faith in our democracy and government to take remedial action, but its too late for those who lost their lives. I can only extend my deepest condolences to the victims and strongest protest against the barbaric doctors who should have never opted for this profession.

This nation will take a long time to recover from this anesthesia.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Rajasthan-50-lives-lost-but-docs-continue-stir/articleshow/6511233.cms