Can creativity be compartmentalised into professional specialisations? No, say an increasing band of prominent advertising creatives who are stretching out to music, film-making, script writing, poetry, lyrics, acting, writing books and even martial arts, beyond their advertising work.
R Balakrishnan, better known as Balki, is as involved with his lead responsibilities at Lowe Lintas as he is with making Bollywood films. Prasoon Joshi sees no conflict in his leading McCann India forward and writing lyrics for Hindi films. Rensil D’Silva sees no issues in creating for advertising and writing and directing for films. Rajeev Raja revels as much in his professional ad work as in playing the flute before highly appreciative audiences.
Sumanto Chattopadhyay, Roopak Saluja and Vipin Dhyani are similarly passionate about allowing creativity to span beyond professional excellence, to gain depth and richness. Multiple areas of creativity help them expand their talent to the advantage of their professional responsibility, they say.
Sounds good, but in the already time-pressured world of advertising, could that not be disruptive? Balki doesn’t see films and advertising as different creative pursuits. “Both are about story-telling, though in different time-frames.”
Joshi says the advertising and film industries have much to learn from each other. “The understanding of the mass sentiment, their hopes, dreams and a strong connect is valuable learning from films. The art of communicating to a specific target audience in advertising creates better focus on who I am writing for in films. Also, gaining commercial sense in advertising is useful for films too. Film is a product too with a strong business goal to fulfill, apart from an artistic one.”
Rajeev Raja says creativity simply cannot be compartmentalised. “I was a musician before I got into advertising. I’ve been wearing both hats and they both fit pretty well.”
Vipin Dhyani asserts, “In advertising, we talk about target groups, insights, research finding, corrective measures, penetration, and impact. If you apply them before getting in to any other form of art, you get the safe and sensible results.”
It delivers both ways, Saluja states. “My experience with brand communications and agencies has served me to ensure the right balance of commerce and art. As a producer, you need to be wear many hats and handle various issues while maintaining a big picture view.” Balki adds perspective: “One thing that I feel that has helped immensely in the film-making process, is the sense of discipline in communication that advertising has inculcated.”
At a personal level, it is also about reinvention of the body and the soul. Says Chattopadhyay, “It fires my imagination and prevents me from stagnating. The beauty of the word has inspired me to write things other than advertisements.”