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'People like Anil Kapoor are large – at heart and in spirit, and his legacy shall live on'

Guest Column: Prasoon Joshi, Chairman APAC & CEO McCann World Group India, wrote how determined & optimistic Draftfcb-Ulka Chairman Emeritus Anil Kapoor was despite his health taking a downward turn

e4m by Prasoon Joshi
Updated: Apr 14, 2021 9:31 AM
Prasoon Joshi - Anil Kappor

While I was trying to navigate and learn the advertising industry's ropes in Mumbai, I was fortunate to have met Anil Kapoor. Unlike many Ad people I met in Mumbai, whom one struggled to connect with, Anil reached out and extended himself to a relative newcomer.

I remember his call after my campaign for Coca Cola (Thanda Matlab..) He had loved the work and organised a dinner for me inviting the Industry just to celebrate the campaign. 

It was truly refreshing for me to see this level of large-heartedness. Anil was not in my company; he had nothing to do with Coca Cola as a brand, yet overwhelmed with the creative work, he honoured and celebrated it. It was a gesture of a passionate and generous man. 

Subsequently, we spent a lot of time together with him and his family—an exceptionally connected family who took an interest in each other's work and valued it. Rita is one of the warmest hostesses and made my wife Aparna and I feel at home in a new city. His talented son Ram and daughter in law Gautami- must have made him proud with their strides in the acting arena.

Deep down, Anil was a seeker and thrived in the company of ideas. His face would light up when I shared something afresh. A story, an anecdote, a poem - he would appreciate it genuinely, in fact, he'd follow up to ask if that idea or creative work has seen the light of day.

He was not merely satisfied with lofty ideas and esoteric dinner party conversations; he believed in execution. This is the reason he left a vast legacy in form of the agency he built.

We also had another thing in common. We equally felt passionate about the nuanced creative work India produces and often goes under-appreciated globally.   

Today we have come a long way from that situation. In those days, though, Anil was one of the first people who represented India in Cannes as a jury member, and he reminded me of this when I was chairing the Titanium jury years later. I remembered how passionately he would present the cultural context of Indian ads to other jury members. He really cared for the Advertising profession and took pride in the work the Industry did. 

Though over the last few years, I could not spend time with him. However, even on long-distance calls, I couldn't help admire how determined and optimistic he was despite his health taking a downward turn.

People like Anil Kapoor are large – at heart and in spirit.  And his legacy shall live on.

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