Bal Mundkur, the man who set up Ulka Advertising 50 years ago, passed away on the morning of January 7, 2012 at his residence in Goa following a heart attack.
Mundkur had joined DJ Keymer, the forerunner of today’s O&M, on the first day of 1951. Ten years later, he started Ulka, which means ‘meteor’. And the new agency’s rise was indeed meteoric – within the next 10 years, Ulka was the fourth largest agency in the country, and by far the largest independent Indian start-up.
In the nineties, Mundkur retired from Ulka (which had become FCB Ulka, and more recently, Draftfcb Ulka) and moved to Goa, where he continued working for causes close to his heart – which included helping set up Asia’s very first Museum of Christian Art in Goa.
He was not just a businessman, but also an extremely passionate crusader for a wide range of causes – from a building for a cerebral palsy hospital to bringing the choir of Trinity College, London on a tour across India.
An avid collector of all things rare and beautiful, Mundkur’s prized chess set starred in Satyajit Ray’s celebrated film ‘Shatranj Ke Khiladi’.
One man’s passion. An extraordinary team he brought together and inspired. Bold, path-breaking ideas. Today, Draftfcb Ulka, ranked third largest advertising group in the industry, stands as a proud testament to what talent, guts and imagination can achieve. Mundkur had attended the ceremony held recently to celebrate the agency completing 50 years.
He remained full of energy and enthusiasm till the end – at 85 he set up the Centrum Trust, which recently published ‘Ad Katha’, the story of Indian advertising over the decades.
Mundkur has moved on, but he will live on in the hearts of those who knew him.