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!