Bipin Pandit, the founder of Khumaar and the COO of The Advertising Club, speaks to Manasi Y Mastakar about his upcoming concert, music, advertising and more…
Bipin R Pandit, COO of The Advertising Club, needs no introduction in the world of advertising. A man of many talents, he keeps his passion for music alive through his band Khumaar, while fulfilling his duties as the COO as well. Being a law graduate, with a diploma in PR and Advertising, having no formal training in music, for him singing was a call of his heart. And it was this love that led him to form his band, Khumaar, which has been a platform for several newcomers and veterans to showcase their talent and entertain the audience. Excerpts from the interview:
1) Khumaar has become synonymous with a platform that introduces new talent in the world of entertainment. How do you scout for talent? What motivated you to form the band?
Actually,I want to clear this notion once and for all. The order of priority for Khumaar is, (1) We are a bunch of top-notch professionals, who have performed, and continue to perform, at various shows. We get invited to perform and paid for it. (2) Through Khumaar, I have ensured that I play songs of all music directors and singers, despite Rafisaab being my all-time favourite, and not focus on one. Our country has diversity and that should be highlighted. (3) I have ensured that Khumaar stays as a well-segmented show with a mix of solos, duets, classical, qawwali, new songs, regional songs, etc (4) And surely now that the show has become popular I receive some 25 to 30 requests for auditions and they are from all over the country. (5) I choose the singer to be launched carefully after hearing him/her four to five times.
The young girl from Nagpur, Shrinidhi Ghatate, whom we launched, has become a playback singer today. Even Mona Prabhgaonkar has started giving playback; I can say Khumaar has contributed. Khumaar is not only about launching young talent. I have been an artist for the last 30 years, who has performed at all the auditoriums and has travelled in the interiors of Maharashtra and Gujarat. Further, my stint with Adclub made me a well-rounded professional and an event organiser of merit. Thus, I dreamt of having my own group. My contacts in the field of music were in place, and thus, Khumaar was born.
2) You have been performing for several years. What new can we expect from your concert this year?
Watch out for all my professional singers. Bharat Dabholkar doing an act is icing on the cake. And do wait eagerly for the Khumaar Ki Khoj talent this year. He is a classically trained singer.
3) Its been 20 years since you first came to be associated with The Advertising Club. How did a law graduate enter the world of advertising? Please tell us about your journey.
I was in the Accounts Department for six years with Baroda Rayons followed by a long stint of 10 years with Castrol India. However, I was keen on communications. I loved organising programmes and, more importantly, people. There was a vacancy with the AdClub, and I applied. The President of AdClub was Ramesh Narayan. I received a call from his office. He took my first interview alone followed by a second interview along with Kaushik Roy, the Vice President, and a third interview with the Treasurer, Mr Devaraj. A new journey commenced that has now reached a milestone of 20 years.
4) What do you feel about the songs of today? Especially this trend where old songs are remixed with rap?
Music is music, old or new, but surely there is nothing that can replace the golden era of 1950 to 1970. A singer of mediocre ability is made to sound like a singer of great merit, because of technical invasion.
5) How do you keep your love for music alive? Doesn’t it get exhausting, balancing both, Ad Club and singing?
Professionalism and passion are the words. Managing both the worlds is taxing and demanding especially when, by God’s grace, you increase the expectation level of your bosses and yourself. Managing and being a point person for shows of the calibre of ABBYs, EMVIES, EFFIEs, MARQUEES, GOAFEST, AdASIA is certainly exhausting. One must be meticulously organised, punctual and above all, proactive. I am a member of various musical groups on WhatsApp. Musical messages and information keep flowing. I read a lot on music, watch shows, listen to young guys singing and playing music. I am a well-researched person: Strong on knowledge and content, which helps in music.
6) Coming to advertising, don’t you think there is a need for socially relevant ads?
Yes, there is and we, as an association, are working actively towards it. Both AdClub and Khumaar do take up social causes.
7) Like, instead of making condom ads sensual, if they had a social message at the end, there won’t be a need for a ban on them?
I agree with you. The projection and message can change and surely it will be more acceptable.
8) What next? What are your plans after the concert?
The Khumaar show 10th on February is houseful. It will be held at the Ravindra Natya Mandir at 5.30 pm. My next plan is to go to Indore, Nasik, Baroda, Bhopal and enthral the audience over there. And who knows, God willing, do shows abroad.