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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Sep 2014

Verghese Kurien, thank you for the utterly butterly movement

Rahul daCunha, Hindustan Times   September 10, 2012
First Published: 00:02 IST(10/9/2012) | Last Updated: 16:59 IST(10/9/2012)

He was a tiger of a man, Dr Verghese Kurien. He took on politicians with no fear. And all prime ministers, irrespective of political ideology, knew that this was a man with a great vision and unique valour.

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All of them were unanimous in one decision - that he needed to be supported.

I remember once asking him who he felt our finest Prime Minister was. His answer was immediate: "Indira Gandhi. She was mentally very tough."

He was the Robin Hood of the Indian milkman. And more than just a client to my father when he started his advertising agency, daCunha Associates. http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2012/9/amul.jpg

The day my father requested Dr Kurien that he give the ad agency a free hand, since the topical nature of the Amul billboard campaign required quick decisions and turnaround time, he obliged, no questions asked.

A sanction that truly requires trust. And a sanction that has lasted to this day. To know that you have the full backing of a client when you set out to create ads for a brand is a hugely satisfying, reassuring feeling.

I first met Dr Kurien when I was six. My father had been handling the Amul account since 1966.

On my sixth birthday, Dr Kurien, who by now was also a family friend, said that he had a special present for me. I went to his home in Gujarat and there, on the dining table, was a large, carefully wrapped gift.

I dived into the unearthing of this massive present with all the vitality and expectation of a six-year-old, unpeeling it gradually like an oversized onion. Thirty minutes and many layers of paper later, at the bottom of this huge box lay the pot of gold - a silver foil wrapped cube of Amul Cheese.

Dr Kurien looked at me, a twinkle in his eye, and said, "It is a special present, right?"

Couldn't argue with that.

Yes, for all his mental toughness, this was a man with a fab sense of humour.

Cut to 1998. One morning, we ran a hoarding lampooning the then-president of the BCCI. 'Dalmiya kuch kaala hai?', we asked cheekily.

The gent in question was furious and threatened to slap a defamation suit on Dr Kurien personally.

I got a phone call from Dr Kurien asking what exactly we had shown. I explained and then asked him if he'd like us to remove the hoarding.

"Not on your life," he thundered and even suggested we create a fresh visual that is unprintable in this newspaper!

Tribute to Dr.V. Kurien, Father of the White Revolution - Sept'12

Dr Kurien was a fearless man with a wicked sense of humour.

What more can one ask of a client and a man.

RIP, Dr K And thank you for the cube of Amul cheese. You are utterly, butterly great, sir.


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