Friday, 5 February 2010
Mullicksaab must be smiling...
I had the great fortune of having worked closely with Suresh Mullick when I was a lowly account executive at OBM (now O&M). He used to write press ads for Titan Watches himself, and my key result area was to make sure the artworks (that was the format used in those days) reached the client in Bangalore in time. Despite being essentially an unglorified courier boy at the time, this close proximity to Mullick told me a lot about the man. Apart from being a solid creative mind, he was funny, easy-going, kind and a very generous soul. Which is why if he were alive today, he’d probably give a rat’s arse for not being given credit for the new Phir Mile Sur film. Not just because he was above all these small-minded things, but also because the sequel is a complete disaster.
However, since he’s not around, it becomes our responsibility (those who worked with him) to set the record straight on the Mile Sur controversy. Mile Sur was ENTIRELY Mullick’s idea, passion, conceptualisation and execution. It was his baby all the way. However, any creative director needs a filmmaker to shoot a TV production, and that was the role played by Kailash Surendranath. It’s possible he made value additions along the way (ad filmmakers are supposed to!), but make no mistake about it: Mile Sur had Suresh Mullick stamped on every frame. In fact, the last crowd shot in the original film consisted of OBM staffers, bus loaded to the Film City!
In this context, it’s both shocking and unfair that the new Phir Mile Sur film ‘forgets’ to mention Mullick. The correct thing, at the very least, ought to have been this: the last shot in the film should clearly have read: “Mile Sur was originally created by the late Suresh Mullick”. But that did not happen.
So then why was this obviously ethical thing not done? No idea. Personally, I would not blame the channel or the sponsors, though they should have considered the issues of proprietary. I think it was incumbent on filmmaker Kailash Surendranath to have ensured this happened. Because he had shot the earlier film, working closely with Mullick, so there’s no way he isn’t aware this was Mullick’s brainchild.
Grapevine suggests Kailash is a bit miffed at not having been given adequate credit for the original version. If this is true, he ought to have raised his voice then. And not found a way to make ‘amends’ years later. As they say in the ad world, a great idea has many fathers...
Anyways, apparently the channel has promised Exchange4Media they will take corrective action, so that’s that then. But here’s the bottom-line: Had he been alive, Mullicksaab would himself have guffawed away this controversy, and would probably have invited Kailash over for some strong beer at the Bombay Gym. And given him some rocking feedback on the sequel, in his inimitable way. Truly talented people are above these petty things.
PS: Isn’t it ironical that this ‘credit’ tamasha should have happened over a film that encourages people to bond and integrate? Life’s a bitch, man.
(This article was originally carried in IMPACT mag.)