Pralhad Kakar: 'One Shouldn’t Be Ambivalent About Right Or Wrong'

Pralhad Kakar: 'One Shouldn’t Be Ambivalent About Right Or Wrong'

Behind that mad exterior of Ad-guru Pralhad Kakar lies a soft at heart guy who melts easily with good food and affection

Shruti PanditUpdated: Monday, November 27, 2023, 07:40 PM IST
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Sometimes, I think, Pralhad Kakar actually makes an effort to behave the way he does. Because I believe that underneath the rough exterior lies a softie who would do anything for a friend and never do anything that would harm anyone, even if it was to protect himself. The most recent example is when despite the media and others connecting his name to Papa Pancho, the restaurant, he didn’t issue a statement that said he had nothing to do with the place for the last 14 years.

“Why should I?” he questions me. “Mamta was a friend at some point… a partner when we launched the restaurant. We parted ways. But why should I go out of my way to clarify? Just because the restaurant is getting some negative publicity? Not done! That is not good…” 

This is Miyomoto Musashi talking. Pralhad believes that he is the great Japanese philosopher reborn. So much so that when he met Musashi’s great-great-great granddaughter, Satuko Misui, he walked up to her and asked did Musashi paint her centuries ago… to which she had replied that her great-great-great grandfather had painted her great-great-great grandmother and people said that she has stark similarities. He told her that HE had painted that… the painting that hangs in the Miyomoto shrine. Giri, the Japanese philosophy that is defined as ‘to serve with self-sacrifice and devotion’, is Pralhad’s philosophy of life. “That’s what our ‘dharma’ also says. And that’s the best way to live,” he says. 

Recently, Pralhad released his book — Ad Man, Mad Man: Unapologetically Pralhad. While the book has anecdotes about his famous ad-films like Pepsi, etc, the book also has a lot of personal revelations. You get to know about how Aamir Khan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan were cast and also about how he nearly forgot his marriage date.

The book starts with a sentence by Jean-Paul Sartre right in the beginning — ‘Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going?’ The book ends with an answer to these questions: ‘I am the sum total of all the people who have stopped to touch my life and shape its direction.’ (sic)  “I am like clay. A dent here is by someone, a curve there is by somebody else…” He insists that he is fluid, but not like water which changes shapes as per the vessel. “No. I don’t change as per the person I am with. Shaping of clay is a constant and fluid process… it shapes as per the pressure. It doesn’t mean that you change just because of one person… many contribute to your personality,” Pralhad reveals. “However, when one marries someone like Mitali, there is a major way that your life changes. Because she is a constant. She is not a come and go…” 

Pralhad admits that a teacher in his school days, Mr Butlerwhite largely moulded him too. “He made me an athlete, a boxer and built a reserve of confidence in me while taking away the paralysis of fear…” However, Pralhad feels that a little bit of fear is necessary. “That keeps one grounded, careful and humble,” he says. 

And Pralhad has passed this on to his children — helping them get rid of the paralysis of fear. “Children most often don’t know that they are ready to fly… but you know that they are. It is important that they are confident that as a parent you are there to catch them if they fall… but not to clip their wings!” 

What are the other values he has passed on to his three sons? “That they are true to their North,” comes a prompt reply. “Everyone has to find their own North and it is the duty of the parents to help their children find the North. But… it is important to remember that the North of their children might not be similar to their own. North as in North Star so that you don’t get lost in life,” divulges Pralhad. “It is about right and wrong. One shouldn’t be ambivalent about right or wrong. But each one’s right and wrongs are different. And that’s the reason one should never be judgemental. And when your children find their North, they will never be overwhelmed by the circumstances.” 

This God-fearing man believes that Murphy (as in Murphy’s Law) is always at play. “My God is Murphy. I believe that if anything has to go wrong, it will go wrong. We just have to be prepared for that.” And this is what he teaches at his academy — Pralhad Kakar School of Branding and Entrepreneurship.

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