04 Feb, 2016

My Tribute to Suresh Mullick

Reminiscing is our exclusive series of memoir where people from different walks of life share their memories about individuals who made a difference to their lives in some way or the other.

Today we are in conversation with Sumit Roy, Founder Director,Univbrands.

Reminiscing is our exclusive series of memoir where people from different walks of life share their memories about individuals who made a difference to their lives in some way or the other.

Today we are in conversation with Sumit Roy, Founder Director,Univbrands.

Debasis: Welcome to Inmemory Sumit.

Sumit: Thanks.

Debasis: So who would be that person who you feel indebted to and remember with full of gratitude.

Sumit: First person that comes to my mind is Suresh Mullick,an advertising veteran.

Debasis : What comes to your mind when you think of Suresh Mullick?

Sumit: I think of a mad scientist who used to roam around the Calcutta office of Ogilvy, Benson & Mather, singing at the top of his voice, breezing into every cabin to announce that he had woken up and was ready to take on any brief that we poor account executives had ready for his creative team. This would usually be about 11 am because he was very likely up till 2 am crafting copy that would make us all wish we had one-tenth of his genius.

Debasis.What kind of impact has Suresh Mullick had in your life?

Sumit: He completely transformed me.

I came into OBM as a novice in 1973. Within 6 months he had made me a confident advertising professional. Just by his good natured but incisive criticism of anything that I thought, said or wrote.

‘Mulk Saab’ gave me a ‘nickname’ and made sure that Mani Ayer, based in Mumbai, took me under his wing. (Yes, thanks to Suresh Mullick and Anshu Banerjee, I got to be an apprentice with the legendary S R (Mani) Ayer, for three years, before returning to what was then still called Calcutta.)

In those early, formative months, Suresh Mullick would extract good briefs out of me and though most of it was his coaching, ensured that I would feel ten feet tall when the advertising got presented (usually, with a lot of flair, by him) and was approved by the client. And then again, when it was proof checked for release. Usually by him. If you got it past him without a correction mark, he had a way of making you feel 100 feet tall.

His greatest genius was that though he had put the finishing touches, he made all of us, whether in the creative or account management team, feel that we were the creators of the advertising. As indeed we had. He had a way of getting the best out of us.

Debasis. Given a chance to meet Suresh Mullick,what would you like to speak about or discuss.

Sumit: That would have to be in heaven. Suresh Mullick left this world quite a few years back.

If there is a heaven and I ever make it there, I am guessing the conversation could be about Asparagus, Beethoven, Cheese, Dante, Escargot, Figaro, Hindustani Classical, Inverness, Jam Tarts, Kathak, Leonardo da Vinci, Maulvis, Nitrous Oxide, Opera, Pakhtoon cuisine, Quislings, Ragas, Steppenwolf, Tabalchis, Ultrasound, Vilayat Khan, Wodehouse, Xenon, Yak butter or Zia ul Huq. There’s very little he did not know about.

Debasis. How was it to work with Suresh Mullick?

Sumit: Inspiring. Rewarding. I never wanted to go home. Every moment spent with him was worth soaking in.

Debasis.What legacy do you feel Suresh Mullick has left behind?

Sumit: Possibly the most tangible legacy is Piyush Pandey.

Suresh Mullick discovered him and changed him from an account executive to become the creative leader India and the world of Ogilvy admires.

The less tangible, but perhaps even more transformative, was that he left us the anthemic films that made a generation proud to be Indians: The Torch of Freedom and Mile Sur Mera Tumhara.

Debasis. Does Suresh Mullick come as a point of reference / motivation on day to day life of yours?

Sumit: Yes.

Every time I have to write a brief.

Or evaluate whether the piece of advertising I am reviewing is going to work.

He taught me to think with my heart.

Debasis.Your note of thanks to Suresh Mullick?

Sumit: How does one thank a person who helped one find one’s destiny?

“Chillam de Chillo”. Only Suresh Mullick, or those who knew him closely, will understand what that means.

Debasis: Great thoughts Sumit,Wish you all the best and stay well.

My Tribute to My Mother Smt Sushila Bhogilal Shah
The Girl and the mother
Categories: Reminiscing

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