Known as the advertisement guru of India, Prahlad Kakkar, hailing from Gurgaon, is a multi-faceted personality. Besides creating innumerable highly successful ad films, he also runs a scuba-diving school and a coffee shop. Yesterday, when the ad guru (creator of the famous Pepsi ad with Amitabh Bachchan and Sachin Tendulkar, besides others) received the Pandit Jasraj Samman Award, instituted by the Haryana Institute of Fine Arts (HIFA), from the CM at Karnal, it was an apt tribute to a son of the soil.
“I always look for joy, happiness and humour in advertising films. An advertisement without joy or humour is lifeless. Watching subtle nuances of life is necessary. It gives you ideas. Mazak mein duniya badal jati hai. Maar-peet se kuch nahi hota,’’ says Kakkar.
Prahlad Kakkar attributes his success to getting into trouble and the art of knowing how to get out of it. “In school, I was always getting into trouble. But, at the same time, I also knew how to talk my way out of it. This knack of constantly inviting trouble and invariably squeezing out of it, taught me the art of creativity and advertising,’’ he admits.
Kakkar says Sainik School taught him many things. “Mostly, hard work and discipline in life and a will to succeed. For this, I will always be indebted to my school, especially principal Father E.J. Semens.”
The ad guru has worked with almost all top film and cricket stars, including Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Sachin Tendulkar and many more. His earlier stint with great film maker Shyam Benegal in the making of films Manthan and Ankur also helped him learn. His latest ad film is on JK Cement, where he has worked with veteran film star Om Puri.
He strongly believes ad film makers should not cross the limit. “The best way to punish an advertisement is to ban the product it advertises,’’ he says, adding, “Indians lack a sense of humour in the real sense, unlike foreigners. What we see and hear is not real comedy. We still seem to be enjoying the slapstick kind of comedy seen in films and laughter channels. Indians also don’t know how to laugh at themselves. Punjabis are an exception though. No wonder they are such a happy-go-lucky community,’’ says Kakkar.
His scuba diving school was conceived to get over his phobia of water. A visit to the Lakshwadweep Islands motivated him and after persuading the government, he started the school.