In Conversation With Kailash Surendranath, Co Founder & Director, Kailash Picture Company Pvt Ltd
What or who influenced you to get into advertising?
I grew up in a film family. Dad was singing star of yesteryears; Surendranath (BALLB). Interesting that all his old posters showed off his law degree. Anyway from an early age film people and specially technicians surrounded me. I think they taught me a great deal and influenced me to be a filmmaker at 17 when I shot my first film as independent director. As far as advertising goes I believe an old friend the late ms influenced me. Mooby Ismail. It was destiny that we met for the first time one morning when I offered her ride to Lintas in the rain. I was on my way to college, we spoke briefly and She turned out to be the film chief at lintas, (a title which no longer exists) and offered me a shot at making the first “Liril” film and then many many more. I’ve never look back since then.
You have worked with both Indian as well as international crew. How do they differ?
Usually, when I have to shoot in a foreign locations I prefer to use a local crew if there is one available. I find that this is very convenient and economical and it exposes me to a variety of styles and talents. It is quite amazing that despite cultural differences the “film language” is always the same any where in the world. I have shot with Nigerian crews, Thai crews, Pakistani crews, British and European crews, Sri Lankan, Turkish etc never had any problems, always very pleasant experiences and made great friends. I guess one needs to be confident as a filmmaker and of ones vision and own judgment of people to take a chance with working with a crew of total strangers.
'Mile Sur Mera Tumhara' is an iconic TVC. What was the inspiration behind it?
Mile Sur has been inspired by a deep love for music, which both the late Suresh Malik and I shared. It was also inspired by the unexpected and over whelming success of “spread the light of freedom” which was our first national integration films together with Indian sports stars. Also what was very inspiring was the love and enthusiasm & pride in their work of our wonderful team right through these productions. I shot these films with just a basic concept in mind and without very detailed preproduction & planning. I was just allowing thinks to happen as we went along making the most of it, improvising, and I truly believe that all through shooting editing, recording, traveling & contacting people for these projects there was always an inspired faith that wonderful think will happen. I guess the iconic nature of these anthems is the result of all this.
How distinctive is the ad industry today as compared to when you began?
From my experience the ad industry today like all other industries has grown exponentially in size compared to when it was when I started. It was a very small community when I began and we all know each other. I think that is one of the reasons why I could make a name for my self and my entire body of work so quickly, and all of it is so well remembered today. I see lots of brilliant work through all the clutter that exists today but because there are so many players nobody really is remembered for it. Its always only that two seconds of fame. Of course the industry is getting more & more professional and result oriented which is natural considering current budgets and stakes that clients have.
Out of the 3500 ad films that you have made, which one is the closest to your heart?
I have worked all these years with the conscious efforts to keep up with the latest trends in technology and creativity and attitudes & tastes so the recent work will always look better then vintage work, however dearest to my heart is the first Liril Film because it mean so much to me in terms of my carreer and to Indian advertising.
Salman Khan pointed out the huge role you played in his life on "Koffee With Karan". Could you share the story with us?
We were about to leave for the Andaman islands to shoot India’s first under water commercial for Campa Cola we were one main model short. Arti Gupta who was a top model of that time (now my wife & producer) spotted this young man (Salman now admits that he also trying impress her at that moment) at the sea rock hotel swimming pool taking a dive. She sent him to meet me at office. At first I was hesitant because he looked like a kid whilst the other models were older & taller. Arti had asked me to tell him to take his shirt off before making the decision. The rest is his destiny. We had this wonderful shoot in the Andaman everybody loved him and though he was much younger we set up an instant rapport. Our bond till today is very strong. As far as playing a huge role in his life is concerned. I guess I sometimes say “wise” words when I’m partying and often-in jest. Salman has always been astute and eager to absorb and learn and has this great ability to read between the lines.
If given a chance, with whom would you like to swap your life for a day?
This question reminds me of a cult movie I saw when I was very young “easy rider”. Peter Fonda says while he is tripping on acid “I never ever wanted to be any one else but me”
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