Please tell us about yourself
I’m a Mumbai boy, born and brought up in a middle class South Indian household. It was a family of music teachers, thanks to whom I grew up listening to and deeply appreciating the nuances of music. I completed my graduation in commerce from RA Podar College (1992).
How did you end up in such an offbeat, unsuccessful and cool career?
During that time, a commerce graduate was expected to have only one path in mind – to become a chartered accountant. But I wanted a bold and different path – the world of advertising. My interest in advertising started during my college days; more than TV programs, I loved watching the ad breaks. That was also the period when India had just opened up to this field.
Tell us about your career path
Following my graduation – as destiny would have it – I got a call from O&M and was delighted to get a job as a management trainee (client servicing), in the finance division. The then head of the division recruited me on one condition – that I get a professional degree after working for a year. After a year, as promised, I quit O&M to pursue an MBA from Narsee Monjee, Mumbai. These two experiences moulded me into the professional I am today.
During my MBA in marketing, I interned at Grey. The next defining moment of my life was when, as part of the campus recruitment process, I joined HTA (now JWT), in the client servicing department. That was the year the agency was appointed as Unliever’s AoR, and Fulcrum was born.
How did you get into media?
After three months of joining HTA, out of the blue, I got a call from Ketaki Gupte’s office; she was heading the media function at HTA. She suggested that I join the media department of HTA. I was worried and apprehensive; I thought media was all about numbers and computers. But she convinced me and reluctantly, I agreed. Within a few days I got the opportunity to work on several Unilever brands. Unilever was considered to be the mecca of advertising and media; the experience taught me a lot about media planning and buying. Thanks to Ketaki, I have not looked back since. This was my second defining moment.
While I was with HTA, Lintas Media approached me and asked me to work on Unilever’s oral care portfolio. Joining Lintas changed my life. It strengthened my understanding of media. In fact, I started loving media.
Many of my defining moments have been totally unplanned. And I have been fortunate to have been guided by industry stalwarts like LV Krishnan (my mentor at HTA), Kenneth D’Souza (my first boss at Lintas) and Andrey Purushottam (servicing head, Lintas, Unilever business).