The genius that is KV Sridhar: 10 things you would want to know about Pops

Pops recently stepped down as the Chief Creative Officer from SapientNitro after two years

e4m by Sarmistha Neogy
Updated: Oct 19, 2016 8:13 AM
The genius that is KV Sridhar: 10 things you would want to know about Pops

Ad guru KV Sridhar recently stepped down as the Chief Creative Officer from SapientNitro after spending two and a half years in the organisation. It was also the first time that the organisation had created such a role. Sridhar’s last working day at SapientNitro was October 14 and he will soon start his own venture, which he will announce in another three to four weeks because few things are still under discussion.

Without disclosing much about his upcoming venture, Sridhar said, “I have been planning this for a couple of months and I feel now is the right time. It will be a disruptive new model in the field of communication and very soon you will get to know about it.”

Sridhar joined SapientNitro in 2014 and has worked on accounts like DBS Bank, British Airways and others. Before his stint at SapientNitro, he was with Leo Burnett- India and subcontinent- for almost 17 years (non-consecutive) as the Chief Creative Officer.

As a fitting tribute to one of the most loved men in the advertising industry, here is a list of 10 things which you would want to know about the genius that is KV Sridhar:

Why Pops?

We all know that Sridhar is popularly known as Pops in the advertising world but very few know how it all started. It was around 1992, when he had joined Lintas, there was another Sridhar working in the same organisation. So his colleagues, in order to avoid confusion, used to call the other Sridhar ‘Baby Sridhar’ and KV Sridhar as ‘Papa Sridhar’. The other guy was nicknamed Baby because even though he was six-feet tall, he had a baby-like face and KV Sridhar fondly came to be known as Pops.

Youngest Art Director in a feature film:

Because of his maternal grandfather, who was a cinema actor, theatre artist, playwright and a lawyer, Pops and his siblings took to acting in plays and movies at a very early age. He in fact acted in several plays till he was about 16 years old. At the age of 18, he also became one of the youngest Art Directors for a South feature film.

Made portraits to earn money:

Since a very early age, Pops tried his hands at everything to earn money including making portraits of Arab Sheikhs who used to leave behind their black and white picture with him so that he could sketch them. He graduated in Botany, Zoology and Chemistry from the Osmania University, Hyderabad, after which he enrolled to study art at the Ideal School of Art, in Gulbarga, Karnataka.

Started his career painting Bollywood billboards:

Sridhar started his career painting Bollywood billboards but he experimented in various professions early in his career because he wanted to be like Michelangelo. He has been a medical representative, trained art teacher, set designer for movies and simultaneously conducted group and solo exhibitions of his fine arts work. He also worked with lithography and copper plate etching for about two years after which he decided to enter advertising.

Bribed the watchman of the company to get his first job:

It was in 1978 that Pops started working part time for his cousin who used to own a graphic design shop. He learned all the technicalities of design there, but his first proper job in advertising was at Advertising and Sales Promotion (ASP). During an interview there, the general manager told him that the agency did not have enough space for his seating so Pops returned to the agency the next day, with a foldable Godrej chair, which he got by bribing the watchman. The manager didn’t seem to mind this and Sridhar was hired as the Creative Trainee at the organisation.

Joined Aam Aadmi Party in 2014:

One day while watching a news channel with his daughter, Pops passed a casual comment on the sad political situation of the country. His daughter immediately pointed out to him that it is very easy to pass comments while sitting at home. He then realised that in order to bring some change and for his voice to be heard, he needs to be associated with a political party. He decided to join AAP in 2014 and was associated with the party for few months before realising that this is not where he belongs.

Deeply inspired:

Gautam Buddha has deeply influenced Sridhar and Hermann Hesse’s novel, Siddhartha changed his attitude towards life. Mahatma Gandhi has also played an important role in shaping his beliefs, which got instilled in him at an early age of three years when his grandmother used to share stories about Gandhi. In fact, Sridhar and his team at Leo Burnett designed the Gandhi font to commemorate Bapu’s 141st Birth Anniversary in 2010. Gandhi is also one of the reasons why Pops continues to be strictly vegetarian till date.

Issues close to his heart:

Two issues are extremely close to Sridhar’s heart. He feels that we must be sensitive towards the girl child because he feels that as a country, we don’t respect women. In fact, as a child, even though he comes from a family of five brothers, he always thought it was a boon to be blessed with sisters. It was only when he was growing up that he realised the issues of infanticide. As a result, for the last 13 years, he has been closely associated with UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) and is actively working to give girls in our society a far brighter future.

He also financially supports several projects that are involved with the education of children. Pops believes in giving at least one thing back to the society in which he lives.

Life after work:

While Pops is not at work, he likes to spend time with his wife and children. He likes to read, paint and train himself. He admits that he is very greedy for life so he never likes to waste a minute. He wakes up every day at 5:30am and till he has his morning cup of coffee, likes to do research and keep himself updated. He also enjoys painting on his iPad whenever he gets time.

His first book:

He has already finished writing his first book and before the end of this year, it will be published. It was earlier expected to be launched in either June or July this year, but because of his personal work, it has taken a back seat. Bloomsbury is the publisher of Pops' first book. 

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