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Thursday, May 13, 2004

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BL in Mumbai

The dinner to kick off the Mumbai edition of Business Line, and celebrate a decade of the only white `pink paper' saw a galaxy of commercial stars that would have eclipsed a full moon. Coincidentally, the 4th of May also saw that rare celestial phenomenon.

Industry celebrities including the dapper R. Gopalakrishnan of Tatas, Anand Mahindra, Shashi Ruia of Essar, Venugopal Dhoot of Videocon and Krishna Kumar of Indian Hotels clinked glasses with the likes of Brahm Vasudeva of Hawkins, Ravi Kant of Tata Motors and Narottam Sekhsaria of Gujarat Ambuja.

The financial sector was represented by big guns such as M. Damodaran of UTI who recounted a memorable anecdote in a cameo pre-prandial performance. V. Leeladhar of the Union Bank of India and M. Venugopalan of Bank of India stepped out of a late board meeting to spend a little time with the august gathering. The marvellously mixed crowd saw M. F. Husain make a late entry, while the advertising industry was present in full force. Ranjan Kapur, WPP, regaled the guests with his theory of a glamour quotient (GQ) that seems to be more important than the staid old IQ. Among others seen were Prem Mehta of Lintas, Madhukar Kamath of Mudra, Sam Balsara of Madison, Goutam Rakshit of Avenues, Ram Sehgal of Everest, Ramesh Narayan of Canco, Krishen Premnarayen of Prem Associates and C. D. Ramachandram of Imageads. The general consensus was an emphatic thumbs up to credibility and serious reporting. After all, money is serious business.

Mango magic

Ian Batey, making a slick presentation at the AdAsia, wowed the audience by suggesting that India should brand its mango fruit and take it to the world in a value-added form.

Well, he obviously hadn't met Prahlad Kakkar. The long-haired, Stetson-toting whiz commercial film maker, restaurateur, and long-starring Page 3 personality has already branded the mango as Ambo. Sadly, none in the AdAsia audience knew about this part of the flamboyant head of Genesis either. He helped put together an exhibition called Konkan Ambo that had on display not just King Alphonso, but also the several other delicious varieties of mangoes that the Konkan region dishes out every year. A special feature of this great idea was that you could buy, order and send mangoes directly from farmers. Wish it could be on for more than just three days. I hear that well-heeled residents of South Mumbai are feeling a little left out.

Scorpio joke

Why is the Scorpio called the loner's best friend?

Because it is the only car that talks to you.

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