R Balki the film-maker? Or should I get R Balki the ad film maker? I got R Balki the thinker for the third episode of my podcast Dreamers and Unicorns as part of the #NewCodeOfWork series.
No 1 among podcasts
The podcast is at the top slot among podcasts. This is really the equivalent of hitting a bestselling list in books. First things first – thanks to everyone who listened to the podcast. Pl do leave a rating if you like the show. You can subscribe to my show here to listen to a new episode every Monday.
R Balki learns a big lesson from advertising
R. Balakrishnan, popularly known as R. Balki, is an Indian filmmaker, screenwriter and former Group Chairman of the advertising agency Lowe Lintas (India). He is best known for directing Cheeni Kum (2007), Paa (2009) and Pad Man (2018) and Mission Mangal (2019). The last one was written by Balki.
He started, his career with Mudra at the age of 23. He saw an ad in the papers for Mudra. The ad asked people to send in 100 words describing who they were. In those days Mudra used to produce the popular soap opera Buniyaad directed by Ramesh Sippy. The Mudra Videotec logo appeared at the end of each episode of Buniyaad. Balki thought Ramesh Sippy worked at Mudra. After all Ramesh Sippy was Balki’s hero. So he applied to Mudra and was promptly hired. I spoke to him about that during the podcast. He says that he was misled into joining advertising. But then he learned one big lesson there. Listen to Balki share that secret.
“The trick in advertising is not in doing one ad. It is doing it day after day after day …”
Balki’s ideas have included “Daag Achche Hain” for ‘Surf Excel’, “Jaago re” ads for ‘Tata Tea’ and the “walk when you talk” Idea Cellular advertising campaign. And many more that he did day after day after day.
R Balki on film making
Balki has written and directed Cheeni Kum (2007), which starred Amitabh Bachchan and Tabu. His second feature film was the critically acclaimed and commercially successful Paa, (2009), starring Amitabh Bachchan, his son Abhishek Bachchan, and Vidya Balan.
During the podcast I asked Balki what got him interested in movies. He said it was the music used in films that used to generate images in his head. These images were better than the images that he saw on screen. That was the magic of music. Specifically Iylaiyaraja’s music.
No surprise that Ilaiyaraja scored the music for Balki when he made Cheeni Kum. And Paa
He spoke about his deep admiration for Ilaiyaraja’s music.
R Balki on working with other creative people
Are creative people easy to work with? Balki’s life has been spent in working with creative people ranging from Ilaiyaraja and Amitabh Bachchan. What was it like to work with them? How does Balki work with creatives who are known for their creative genius and in some cases, if rumors are to be believed – famously temperamental. This was a real gem.
Listen to the podcast ft R Balki
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