I have some memories of this and of the man who made this. Suresh Mullick of Ogilvy and Mather. I was a young trainee journalist with The Asian Age. And duly packed off to interview Suresh Mullick. It was a good thing for me that back in those days we had no internet and google baba and I was appropriately raw to not be overwhelmed by the great advertising and marketing gurus I interviewed. So I interviewed Suresh Mullick and Shunu Sen and S M Dutta with the kind of insouciance that comes from extreme youth and ignorance. Had I been doing those interviews today I wouldnt have been able to get the questions through from chattering teeth.
Back then, I think I wouldnt have been overwhelmed by anyone except Bon Jovi and Michael Jackson, I was at that age. So off I trotted to the Ogilvy office, hoping to wrap up the interview in an hour max. I learnt, to my surprise, when I landed there, that my subject had very different plans. In fact, my subject dapper in a suit and a very oldfashioned pair of spectacles had kept his entire day free for the interview. Which was not an interview of him, but an interview of me. We went out for lunch to the Library at the President. Lobster was ordered. I was a greenhorn at managing cutlery to attack the crustacean, he laughed and ordered me to use my hands. He asked me about my childhood, how I grew up, my family, I could barely get in a word edgewise to ask him my questions about himself. I drew out little bits of information in the course of our conversation which I had to commit to memory. I was not allow to jot down notes. Mullick was a nice avuncular gentleman, and someone completely different from anyone I’d interviewed earlier. He had a subtle sense of humour, a slight Woody Allenesque look and a gentle interest in what I planned to do with my life, quite flattering for a little nobody just out of college, and who had wandered into journalism quite by default. He knew and knew about things. Music, books, art, cricket, I remember feeling quite awed by the breadth of his knowledge. And his words still stick in my head, “Always do what you enjoy. The moment you stop enjoying something, move on.” I didnt quite understand him then, but I do now. And I think its a maxim I’ve adopted. He would call up occasionally. Chat a while. Always asking what I was working on, if there was anything interesting I was writing. Asking me to send in copies of the interviews I’d written for him to read. Discussing articles I had written, dissecting them in the most gentle disarming way.
Thank you Mr Mullick, for your kindness to a trainee journalist. You made me believe that true greatness is in making the other person feel good about themselves rather than tom tomming one’s own achievements.
I’m not going to write about his work, there are folks who have done that better and more indepth than I could ever hope to in a five minute post.
Sridhar, (ex Director O&M India), has just launched a book on Suresh
Mullick, the Creative Director who directed Mile Sur. Read it here: http://periscopedesign.co.in/index.html