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Pradeep Sarkar was a 'talk less, do more' person who worshipped work: Manish Bhatt

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Shamita Islur
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Pradeep Sarkar


Manish Bhatt, Founder Director, Scarecrow M & C Saatchi, remembers the late Pradeep Sarkar, fondly known as Dada in the industry and honours the Adman’s legacy as a mini production house of his own.

I was a fresh graduate from Baroda College of Art and was working as a junior visualizer when I decided to look for a better opportunity. A walk-in interview with Vidur Vohra, who used to be the Creative Director, Copy Creative Director at Contract Advertising, led me to Dada

Vidhur mentioned that Pradeep Sarkar’s (Dada) group has a vacancy and asked me to meet this senior writer Dibakar Banerjee. Dibakar saw my portfolio and liked one particular piece of work, which he thought would be very useful to launch Philips Pagers. I gave the interview and Dibakar said that Dada would be my boss and that he's like a joyous character who brings a lot of value. 

As someone who was in his first roots of advertising, I had the opportunity to observe Dada. He was a 'talk less, do more' person who worshipped work. I realised he was the one creative person following audio-visual in an era of print. He would be busy working on creative projects for Contract and outside Contract.

I started working on Dada’s brands which included USHA Fans, Uncle Chips, Boomer, Philips Pagers, Shell, Atlas Cycles, Shriram Honda. Whether it was a big USHA presentation or brands he was working on beyond Contract, he involved me in his audio-visual projects. 

Also Read: Remembering the Adman – Pradeep Sarkar

He knew what he wanted and got the work done, that’s what made him a smooth operator. He was like a mini-production house within the agency and that was fascinating for me.

What’s memorable about working with him were the fond relationships he would build, not just with me but with everyone who knew him. I used to work at his home for personal projects, presentations, and interact with him in his car. 

My second phase of knowing him began when he had become a full-fledged filmmaker. I had moved on from Contract to agencies like Ogilvy Delhi, Mumbai and Malaysia to Ambience when I got to work with him again. 

As we were working on a large-scale campaign for Parachute, we just knew Dada would be the right person for that job. 

We worked on brands like Tata Press Yellow Pages (which received applause and visibility), Planet M, Dabar Vatika, VIP, Aegon Religare, and it continued on even after I started Scarecrow.

With an almost childlike desire to work on what he wanted, he had a peculiar way of doing things but would always deliver the right thing for the brand. It’s his very specific work process that would be unforgettable and reflected his personality. 

His ability to be involved in the work right from the pre-production to the final product would add value to the process by making sure money wouldn’t be wasted. 

80 to 90 percent of my good work has been created through the people who Dada has nurtured. He has trained and created the ‘Dada School of People’ in my opinion. 

Beyond advertising and film-making, his love for music videos, toys and gadgets made him the most high profile yet equally humble ‘child’ I have worked with.

I believe in one observation - ‘one should either be busy creating or should be busy creating the people who can create’ and I think he actually did that. He was a University of filmmaking because he nurtured and created a style of his own.

Working as a freelancer, boss, a creative director and a filmmaker, I saw this person as one of the most dedicated and sincere people and I could go and sleep in his shadows. He was like that to many people and his loss is genuinely a loss, for us, for people like me and in our industry. 

Manish Bhatt Adman Pradeep Sarkar Manish Bhatt Pradeep Sarkar Pradeep Sarkar Dada Pradeep Sarkar Director