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Tilak Rishi, born in India, has been working as a career corporate executive, after doing his MBA. Passionately pursuing his hobby for writing, he also remained a regular contributor to newspapers in India and the U.S. Many true happenings and characters he came across in life, including interaction with former president Bill Clinton, inspired Paradise Lost and Found, his first novel. A family saga, it starts from Kashmir, when this paradise on earth is lost for the tourists who thronged in thousands every year to enjoy its scenic splendor. Terrorists have turned it into one of the most dangerous places in the world. The family is not only a witness to the loss of this paradise, but also to another tragedy of much bigger magnitude. In the aftermath of the partition of India, along with millions uprooted from their homes in Pakistan, the family leaves behind all that it has in Lahore. Starting from a scratch on the difficult path to progress, it still has many joyful moments when along the way it makes a difference in many a life. The survival-to-success story climaxes in California where the family finds the paradise that was lost in Kashmir.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Kailash Surendranath - Master Of Ads

Dear Amitji,

“this is the ad., i did for Dr Fixit the waterproofing wala’s .. great fun and intelligent scripting .. my admiration therefore for this world and these people and artist is great .... it would be of great interest for some of you to come to one of these work points and observe the detailing and concern and discussion and debate that goes into each shot that is taken, each word that is spoken, each clothing that is worn, each property that is used on set and eventually what the final edit consumes for the final presentation to the masses .. ” (DAY - 3056)

Sir, your above post unlocks memories of brands one grew up with, bringing a smile and a chuckle as you recall the humour of the day. Tracing the growth of Indian advertising, till the 1960s
there was very little brand advertising, except for some old venerables like Lifebuoy, Dalda, Singer and some public service advertising, which were shown in theaters before the start of the film. In the mid-1960s with the creation of an iconic utterly butterly Indian brand in Amul, began the advertising era in India. It was also the heyday of the stumpy, moustachioed, bowing Air-India Maharaja. Who can forget, Karen Lunel, the Liril girl in the waterfall, who was discovered behind a sales counter in a Mumbai boutique by Ad. film-maker Kailash Surendranath in a countrywide search. Cascading down a steep valley in Ootacamund, it was its best in winter when it took real courage to plunge in and emerge smiling. The 1970s also saw the blockbuster Sholay, which redefined the movie industry and also saw the ‘bollywoodisation’ of the ad industry. Britannia cast the villain Gabbar Singh (Amjad Khan) in a Glucose D ad. The ad was a roaring success and helped Britannia open a breach in the Parle glucose biscuit fortress.The decade also saw some memorable ads that are seared into the collective memories of that generation: ‘I love you Rasna’; Jenson & Nicholson’s ‘whenever you see colour, think of us’, the ‘Only Vimal’ sarees campaign. There’s even a poster reproduced of actor Rekha in an ad for Gold Spot with the lines ‘Livva litte hot…sippa Gold Spot!’ The 1980s were the dawn of the age of aspiration! Asiad, television and India’s World Cup victory happened and transformed the ad landscape forever. It was also an age when many brands were born: Maruti, Ind-Suzuki, Hero Honda, Titan, Videocon. Pepsi entered India by the end of the 1980s. And, Andhra Bank launched India’s first credit card. It was also the decade when a Johnny-come-lately brand Nirma shook Hindustan Lever’s Surf, till the ‘empire’ struck back with the ‘Lalitaji’ campaign. Other immortal lines emerged: ‘Taste the thunder’ for Thums Up and two-minute Maggi and those Coke/Pepsi immortal lines: Thanda Matlab Coca Cola and Dil Maange More! And, who can forget the loveable zoo-zoos.
The 1990s till now... aha, free at last! Liberalisation opened the floodgates to new brands. International brands, spanking new malls and lower duties seduced the buyer. International advertising networks came a-calling to India and Indian advertising reached out to the world. Winning at international advertising festivals, it stood on the Riviera and said, “We Cannes!”

Sir, while tracing the history of the ad-film industry in India, I cannot restrain myself from writing about my nephew Kailash
Surendranath, best known for producing Mile Sur Mera Tumhara (unity-in-diversity) song in 1988 and directing revised version of the same in 2010, Phir Mile Sur Mera Tumhara. In an attempt to rejuvenate the magic and the response the original received, 22 of India’s biggest superstars, 18 renowned musicians, 13 of our best artistes and singers and 15 of India’s most recognised icons shot for over two months across 15 cities to recreate the magnum opus. Sir, you were not only the  guest of honour at its launch but also part of the project again. Abhishek and Aishwarya, are part of the video, too. Sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan is joined by his sons Amaan Ali and Ayaan Ali while Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma appears with his son Rahul. Deepika Padukone and Ranbir Kapoor represent the next generation.
At the age of 17, Kailash began his career into ad-film making and has directed around 3,500 ad films since then in his 40 years career span, and still continues to dominate the industry - “My dad was in movies and he had a little production company. He had been an actor for a long time and eventually decided to have a production company, because his acting career was tapering out. Working with him, I took over the reins at a very early age, because I was very interested in cinema and films. My most enjoyable work has been those early Lyril films, which I did because they were always an adventure. We used to go down to Kodaikanal with three cameras, one for special effects, one for slow motion, one regular camera. We used to trek down a mountain and into a valley, into a waterfall, because those days, it was not considered feasible to make a set of a waterfall. It was ice-cold weather. I actually started making Ads… directing and producing them. I did Al Kabeer. There was also a biscuit Ad that we did. We also did one with Lisa Ray for some spices. We did Fair and Lovely in those days with Aishwarya Rai. She did her first ad for us, for a talcum powder in the Middle-East. It was a short step from that to Pepsi and Palmolive back in Mumbai. There was also the Brooke Bond tea campaign.  Long before Sooraj Barjatya happened in Salman Khan's life, it was me  and my wife Aarti who discovered the budding talent of Salman Khan for our Campa Cola ad. Since then we made a lot of other commercials together.” Salman went to meet Kailash who was not so impressed at first sight. 'He is a kid' he told Aarti. Not one to give up, Aarti asked her husband to ask the lad to take off his shirt! Impressed with what he saw, the Ad was filmed and Salman has never stopped taking his shirt off ever since!

Of the many high profile celebrities they’ve worked with, both give their unequivocal thumbs up to you, Sir. “In one of the recent ads we did together, Amitabh Bachchan was supposed to chant some relevant Sanskrit mantras. We brought in a real pundit on the sets to coach him, which proved futile as Mr Bachchan knew all the mantras better than the scholar himself!”
(Boroplus ad - Amitabh Bachchan - Kailash Surendranath)

With regards and best wishes

Tilak Rishi


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