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Father-children duos in the A&M industry and the rapport they share

In a culture that burdens women with the chore of building a home and nurturing a family, fathers often don’t get their due credit. This Father’s Day, tries to catch up with fathers who have led by example and their children who could fearlessly follow in their footsteps

If my father hadn’t looked me in the eye and told me “You write well, maybe you should look at a career in the media industry”, I don’t think I would ever have figured out that writing could actually be a job that I could aspire to.

I was still very young and decidedly unaware to really know what he meant by the “media industry” but it had the brilliance of a light being switched on in a dark room and I followed it to where it led me.


In a culture that burdens women with the chore of building a home and nurturing a family, fathers often don’t get due credit. For, they are the disciplinarians and the providers. It is the mother who is supposed to be the treasure trove and safe-keeper of whispered dreams.

This Father’s Day, tries to catch up with fathers who have led by example and their children who could fearlessly follow in their footsteps.


Ashish Bhasin and Abhinay Bhasin:

While his wife wanted their son to be a neurosurgeon, Ashish Bhasin always knew in his bones that Abhinay Bhasin will end up in advertising. “Abhinay was very involved when I was in Lintas, he used to take a deep interest in advertising. Right from childhood he used to come to office and when that happens, it naturally seeps in into the child in some way. I did have a hunch that he will end up in advertising but you can never tell with children,” laughed Ashish.


For Abhinay, growing up was all about reading about the work that his father was doing and discussing the same with him, trying to understand the reasons behind every decision.

“When dad was with Lintas, I remember the sports days Lintas used to organise at Priyadarshini Park. I used to attend those events and visit him in the office as well. So, I have always sort of been in that environment and I knew a lot of people in the advertising industry as well. I, therefore, started developing an affinity for the advertising industry at an early age. When I was still a student, I would often read about the kind of work dad was doing at Lintas and then when he joined Dentsu, I would often ask him questions about his work. Much of our dinner table discussions would revolve around this and I really cherished those moments. I still do,” reminisced Abhinay.


After earning a Master’s degree in Economics from Warwick, Abhinay developed an affinity for consumer understanding and wanted to understand the motivations behind why people chose a particular product or invested in a particular brand and their communication.

“That is when I figured out that advertising was the field that I wanted to be in. I wanted to understand the business and not just the traditional form of it,” said Abhinay.

Abhinay then approached his father and told him about his decision to pursue a career in advertising.

“When he finished his masters, he came back to me and said that I am going to apply for jobs in advertising. I did tell him to explore all his options because he had done his masters in economics and various options were open to him. But he made a strong case for advertising, saying he could use his economics background here as well. At the end of the day, both I and my wife were sure that we would support whatever our children wanted to do,” said Ashish.

While Abhinay was contemplating reaching out to the people he knew in the industry for a job, it was Ashish who suggested that he also apply to DAN.

“I suggested that he must also apply to DAN because it is a great place to learn. He was a little reluctant but he met Kartik Iyer and started out in Carat. Today, of course, he is in with the data sciences team,” said Ashish.

Abhinay says he has never felt the pressure of having an illustrious father in the same field that he is in now but rather likes having someone with whom he can share his opinions and concerns.

“I haven’t really felt any pressure of expectations because of who my father is. Dad always told me that whatever profession I chose I should always strive to be the best in it. Apart from that, we are two very different personalities, we have very different reporting lines and we have very different thoughts on certain issues and I think it has been more of a support to have someone you can thrash out your rationale with more than anything else,” said Abhinay.

There is only one advice that Ashish has for his son to survive and succeed in this industry and it is the same advice that Abhinay has held dear since he was a child.

“Devotion to duty determines your destiny!”

Prathap Suthan and Abhimanyu Prathap:

With an NCD father and a designer mother, Prathap Suthan feels that it was only a matter of time before his son Abhimanyu Prathap sought out the creative industry to build his career.

“My wife is a designer and I have been in advertising ever since he was born, therefore, the discussions at home have always been about clothing and fashion and ads and commercials. Everything he heard, as he grew up, had to do with the creative side of life. So, the stage was really set for him to enter a field that was closer to what both of us were doing. But I never wanted to push him into advertising at all. It was a decision he took himself,” said Prathap.

Abhimnayu, on the other hand, was pretty sure that advertising wasn’t his calling but that was until he did find himself in the field and realised that he was a natural.

“Growing up with an NCD as your father, he ends up bringing home a lot of the work that he is doing and he would always show me whatever he was working on and ask for my opinion. So, I have grown up with a fair idea of what good advertising is. I wouldn’t say that I got into advertising because of my love for it but it really was a series of lucky accidents that have led me to it. At the same time, now that I have dived into it, it is something that comes very naturally to me, especially because of how I have grown up,” said Abhimanyu.

Not just a writer, Abhimanyu is also a talented musician. But after completing his graduation he was in a fix as to what to pursue next.

“Roughly, from the fourth standard to the day I passed out of college, I was very adamant that I did not want to be in advertising. But after passing out of college, I was a little lost as to what to do next and so my father suggested that I try my hands at digital marketing. After doing a course in digital marketing, the one thing I was sure about was that I did not want to do digital marketing,” said Abhimanyu.

Having a father who has spent a considerable amount of time in the industry means that he could have had his pick of agencies to begin his career with but Abhimanyu wanted to start from where his father had started his career.

“He came to me after completing his course in digital marketing and I said I could help him get an internship with an agency. He could have gotten into any agency really but he said he wanted to start at Mudra because that is where I stared my journey as well,” said Prathap.

According to Abhimanyu, his love for music really gives him a leg up when it comes to his career in the advertising industry as well.

“The really interesting thing about copywriting is that I am the one who is writing the songs, the jingles and making the films. So, I try to channel my love for music in as many ways as possible and use that to enhance what I am doing creatively,” said Abhimanyu.

And while Abhimanyu does feel that people do start to expect a little more from him when they find out who his father is, he also believes that it has never negatively affected his writing.

“It is definitely something to live up to, especially when people around me find out who my father is. I do feel like they expect more from me but that has never negatively impacted my writing,” said Abhimanyu.

Prathap says that his one advice to Abhimanyu is to always strive to be the best he can be at his job.

“There is just one advice that I would like to give him, you have to be the best at whatever you do. There is always a space for the best person in a particular craft. There is always a job for the best doctor or the best pizza maker and there will always be a job for the best copywriter as well,” said Prathap.

For Abhimnayu, it isn’t as much as anything that his father has said that has been his guiding light but rather it is everything he has picked up from him about the industry, growing up.

“It has never been about one piece of advice that he has given me. It has rather been a lifetime of inadvertently soaking in all the insights into the advertising world through him. I would say that he is someone who leads by example and more than any advice he could give me, I have really learned by observing him work.”

Sam Balsara and Lara Balsara:

Sam Balsara never suspected that his daughter, Lara, will end up in the same industry as him when she was small.

“I did not think that she would end up in the A&M industry when she was very young. But by the time she hit college, it was clear that she would join the industry.”

For Lara though, her love for the industry was a natural progression.

“I worked as a trainee in various units of Madison before I went abroad to study and got a masters in marketing, and after I got back I just joined Madison full time,” said Lara.

Sam says he was delighted when Lara decided to join Madison full time and Lara corroborates the sentiment by saying that her father was always supportive of her decision to join the industry.

Sam’s one piece of advice for Lara is, “It is a very tough industry, dominated by global biggies and the only thing that matters and is remembered is what you delivered yesterday.”

But Lara has a handful of lessons of that she has learned from her and couldn’t decide on just one.

“I have learned so much from him. There are several advice that I got from him and which have stuck with me throughout my life,” said Lara.

Despite having a father who is a legend of sorts in the industry, Lara says that she has never felt intimidated by him or felt the pressure of expectations.

“It has never been intimidating and I have never felt the burden of expectations on me because I know what my strengths and limitations are and at the end of the day you just focus on the job that you have to do,” said Lara.

Shashi Sinha and Dhruv Sinha:

Though everyone in Shashi Sinha’s family is from either a defence or bureaucracy background, when Shashi chose to enter advertising after passing from IIT and IIM, he had the full support of his family. And so when his children (daughter Ritika and son Dhruv) wanted to tread the same path as their father, they had his full support too.

“When both Ritika and Dhruv were growing up, I never interfered in their studies. It was mostly Ena, my wife, who was more intricately involved with their day-to-day schedule. It was only much later in their academic journey when they expressed their desire to join this field. Ritika went to the US to do her post-graduation and it was during that time she expressed her desire to join advertising and started working with an agency in New York. She came back to India and joined HUL and now she’s part of their data and analytics team,” said Shashi.

Dhruv Sinha, on the other hand, always had great passion for sports, especially football. He finished his graduation from London, came back to India and worked with Ogilvy & Mather for three years.

For someone who hated ads growing up, Dhruv has come a long way.

“Initially, I hated ads because they would disrupt anything I was watching. But I was always curious about what my father did at work and what it meant to make an advertisement. I have always had a lifelong passion for sports and building a career in sports was something I always wanted to do. After three years in advertising, I pursued my MBA in sports management where I learnt about the management of the sports industry and the many different aspects to it. Today, I work with Sportz Interactive where sport is the heart of what all of us do,” said Dhruv.

Shashi has always been supportive of his children’s choice of profession because for one he feels that the A&M industry is a great field to be in as it is dynamic, constantly evolving and innovating.

But, according to Dhruv, he has indeed felt the pressure of having such an illustrious father.

“It is intimidating in the head and yes there is a burden of expectation going on in the mind. But my father never set any target for me or built any kind of pressure on me to perform. His only expectation from me is to follow my passion and enjoy whatever I am doing,” said Dhruv.

The one advice from his father has seen Dhruv through all his years in the industry?

“He always said that to run a successful business one should keep things simple and follow processes. If one can keep the clients happy, the internal stakeholders happy and the employees happy, everything else will fall into place. He strongly believes that people are the heart of any organisation and it is most important to keep them happy at all times,” said Dhruv.

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