Prabhakar Mundkur

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Prabhakar Mundkur
Master Mentor

Before I embark on telling you about Prabhakar Mundkur, whom many of us know as Prabs, let me tell you what I think of Indian advertising as I see it today. This is imperative for it allows us to contextualize the position that Prabs commands in the industry. Not all is lost in Indian advertising but quite sadly, when I do think of this fraternity I am forced to think of awards and scams. I am forced to think of tight deadlines and unreasonable clients. I am compelled to think of people with inflated egos and misplaced priorities and values. When I do think of this fraternity, I think of digital and social media gnawing at the heels of this once glamourous business. 

Clearly, Indian advertising is operating within the realm of a lot of negativity and it is a challenge for anyone with a ‘gentlemanly’ attitude to operate successfully within this territory. When I think of Prabs, I think of a thorough professional who is, over and above everything else, an eternal mentor. Given so much clutter in the Indian advertising industry, Prabs is an unhurried man with quiet ways and a mind that’s always thinking of innovative ways to make a difference to brands. He is a planning maestro, a gentle warrior, a passionate musician – for many of you who didn’t know this about him – and having, what I call, ‘encyclopedic’ knowledge about various subjects. He’s someone who has made thinking in advertising a ‘sexy’ quality – if I may say so. He’s amongst a dying breed of admen who has the rare ability to seamlessly connect the dots of data, business realities, creative inspiration and cultural nuance. A master presenter and ace business strategist, Prabs is awesome on both turfs, including the boardroom and the campsite.

It is, however, his role as a mentor for which he is most remembered among friends and fans. He had this rare ability to instill confidence in youngsters and inspire them long after they have left his tutelage. A reason why this happened was because Prabs was happy to share his knowledge and experience with people around him. A good mentor, according to me, displays humility, intellect, gentleness and passion, and Prabs imbibes these qualities. Many others could perhaps have bottled up all the experience but not him. He is willing to share his experience in the advertising world, which quite frankly, sorely needs it. 

In the roughly two decades of knowing Prabs – back then he had made me an offer I couldn't refuse; to meet the effervescent team of Milind and Rajul Dhaimade at Everest Integrated Communications, a part of the Rediffusion DY&R Group, to jump-start the account planning function. Under his guidance – Prabhakar was the president of the company – I have learnt a lot and also earned good moolah!


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Comments (7)
Sanjay Banerjee nice
30 Dec 2016 Reply
Sumit Roy (Guest) Prabs inspires even those he has not mentored. I bear testimony.
18 Sep 2015 Reply
Ajay Upadhyay (Guest) Thanks Manish - you have echoed the views of many across the industry. Just to add to what you have shared - Prabs has not stopped and continues to mentor many of us. Am proud to have learnt from him and continue to do so. Salute to Prabs - for always standing by to offer advise and guidance with no holding back.
18 Sep 2015 Reply
Ryan S Menezes (Guest) Well written, Manish. Prabs was my boss for the last 3 years of his stint at Percept, and was and remains one of the best mentors and friends I have had. A beautiful mind, a rarity in this industry today. 
16 Sep 2015 Reply
Mahesh Krishnan (Guest) Like any good human, he engages in social work. He has been doing his share of work for kids who have been victims of child abuse which is commendable. 
16 Sep 2015 Reply
Smiriti Mamgain (Guest) Its always nice to read articles from this section. Another nice piece :)
15 Sep 2015 Reply
Divya Soni (Guest) Prabhakar is an amazing mentor, one that I would love to learn things from. 
15 Sep 2015 Reply


Exceptional women and men who have helped shape and grow our industry.