Sonal Dabral

By Bharat Puri
Likes 103
Comments 13
Sonal Dabral
Defining moments

I first met Sonal in the mid-1990s. He was the young bright designer from Delhi who worked from Ogilvy on the Asian Paints account. Thus began an association that saw him work on various Asian Paints films, including the now famous Pongal film and many other wonderful pieces of creative work for the brand. The association continued in Cadbury, which has now spanned two decades. 

In all these years, the ‘essential’ Sonal hasn’t changed much at all. He remains the quiet, earthy, humble person with a wonderful sense of humour. Since he is fundamentally trained as an art person [Dabral graduated from National Institute of Design], he is very visual in his descriptions – he literally paints a picture with his words. Yet, he can be very articulate and can indulge in a meaningful discussion on business, marketing and brands very easily. A great listener, his ability to empathise with clients and partners makes him a very easy person to work with. 

As a professional he is unflappable – he’s cool as a cucumber – and has the ability to turnaround work fast even when under incredible pressure.

As a human being he remains rooted with a lovely ability to laugh at himself – an evening spent with Sonal is always a joy. Just don’t fix early morning meetings with him!



Managing Director, Pidilite
Comments (13)
Prasoon Pandey My closest buddy since 1981 :) We've shared stuff that we cant ever share with our spouses. No, not cigarettes, silly :) His incredible creative prowess is there for all to see, what makes him even more special is that he is truly a great guy with an endearing personality thats real. Thats a great asset in work too, helps him sell good work. His herculean patience too is a fabulous asset at work. He can smile through the entirety of a 5 hr long meeting with a particularly thick client discussing what all he wanted in his 10 sec film. This same extreme patience can be a nightmare for his friends ;) He can take 3 days choosing between size 8 and size 9 of the same design of a shoe. In fact thats the only thing odd about him- his foot works like a dick, he says it changes size depending on the situation. I admire, love, salute and dread him all at the same time.
07 Oct 2016 Reply
Naresh Sah (Guest) A very good friend and human being. Talent to khut, khut kar bhara hai. I feel O&M peaked only due to him.
26 Feb 2016 Reply
Dipankar Gupta (Guest) Listening to Sonal presenting an idea is as good as watching it in your head because of the way he describes it. In another world I can imagine him as a great story teller (one that keeps his audience spell bound). He is truly a gem of a person. 
02 Aug 2015 Reply
Javed Khan (Guest) This is really inspiring and as a fresher in the industry I am intrigued by the 'cool as cucumber' attitude statement. Would really like to know how that can be achieved. 
29 Jul 2015 Reply
Kailash Surendranath Sonal! His first TV commercial was with me when he was in lintas delhi for hand loom nhdc! Which was an amazing memorable shoot in the sand dunes of khimsar. We've been friends ever since with interwoven destinies, and shared great times in Cannes, Singapore Malaysia and now back home mumbai.Years later we worked together on a linen Club shoot with rohit bal in Mauritius another wonderful experience. Great respect and love always.
25 Jul 2015 Reply
jeet surendranath (Guest) Caught up with Sonal Dabral recently after a long time..Amazingly Sonal is  still the same ol' wonderfully warm Sonal.
24 Jul 2015 Reply
Samir Sen (Guest) Mr Puri mentions that Sonal is a good listener. When Sonal listens he listens.  He leans towards a few inches you, cocks his left ear, looks straight in the eye of the smitten beholder and makes you believe that all his attention, awareness & interest is at that point focused towards you and only you. Sonal does this rather well. And it isn't an act. He has no clue that he does this. And he does this all the time. Sonal is a good man. 
24 Jul 2015 Reply
Aarati Sateesh (Guest) I respect the outlook he has towards work. He doesn't just focus on one aspect of his work but multiple, often almost all aspects. 
24 Jul 2015 Reply
Advit Sethi (Guest) One of the many qualities of Sonal is that he observes life very keenly and takes inspiration from it. Its a quality very few have. 
24 Jul 2015 Reply
Shilpi Dhingra (Guest) I also remember that he had worked with Shah Rukh khan in Fauji. :)
24 Jul 2015 Reply
rahul khanna (Guest) I like the guy. There is something humane and good natured about him. No pomposity, extremely open and positive. 
24 Jul 2015 Reply
Veeran Mallik (Guest) It really nice and encouraging to note that a NID alumni is doing so well. To become the Chairman of a large Multinational Agency is something. Cheers to NID & to Mr Dabral
24 Jul 2015 Reply
Meenakshi Rai (Guest) I have never worked with Sonal, however during his days at Ogilvy a number of my friends always said awesome things about Sonal. That he was a really really nice guy with a terrific sense of humor... and of course many girls at Ogilvy had a crush on him! And he is looking better now...  
24 Jul 2015 Reply


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