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End of an era: Marketing world remembers the Mahashay of MDH

The man lived a good life and his legacy will endure…

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NEW DELHI: The year 2020 has claimed yet another life. ‘Mahashay’ Dharmpal Gulati, the CEO of MDH who was popularly known as the ‘MDH uncle’, ‘Dadaji’, ‘masala king’, or ‘king of spices’, breathed his last in the early hours of Thursday, 3 December – signalling the end of an era. The iconic entrepreneur became the face of the brand since it aired its first advertisement in the 1980s, and was known for his acumen, amiable personality, and the sheer confidence he displayed. 

Recalling his brush with the iconic old man, Madison World and Madison Communications founder, chairman and MD Sam Balsara said, “I always knew him as the grand old man of MDH masala. I was lucky enough to have met him once in Mumbai and I was impressed by his acumen. I also invited him as a chief guest for one of the Pitch Madison events but unfortunately, he could not travel for some reasons then. It’s sad that it will always remain an unfinished agenda now. I pray that his soul rests in peace.” 

Samsika Marketing Consultants CMD and brand guru Jagdeep Kapoor, reminiscing about the legacy that Gulati created, shared, “I do feel sad that the best possible brand ambassador that Indian advertising could have had in the last 100 years has passed away. But he has passed on a great legacy, a brand that he built with sheer hard work. He will always remain in the hearts and minds of millions of Indians.” 

Adman Prahlad Kakkar said that for him, Gulati will always be remembered as a person who lived a good life. “He insisted on being in his own commercials. He personally used to look after the rest of the cast too. He used to say why should he rely on any other celebrity to promote his own brand. He must be known as the face of it. Definitely, an era has ended. I hope that his legacy moves on to able hands.”

On a lighter note, he added, “Men who cook are far more successful with women than men who pump iron. And maybe that’s a fit obituary for him.” 

Director Prabhakar Shukla of P&A ventures, who shot his 500th film with Gulati last year and has also worked on several corporate films for the brand, shared that the late icon was bright and positive energy on the sets and he will remember him as an honest, hardworking, and passionate individual who took the legacy of brand ahead with his feet firmly rooted in Indian culture.

"He was a person who embraced every individual he met like his own. He showed a great amount of patience, conviction, and honesty in taking MDH where it is today; a name that rules the Indian spices market. He taught all of us who knew him personally an important lesson of working hard continuously and make great things happen. I will always keep that with me. Though I will not be able to complete some of the projects that we were planning with him now, I will always cherish the moments that I could spend with him. I pray the God gives him all the love and blessings he deserves and may his legacy continue to flourish!"

Competitor brand Badshah Masala also took to social media and paid a humble tribute to the legend. “An iconic figure in the spice industry, known as the spice king, Mr Dharmpal Gulati has been instrumental in changing the way the industry is looked at. It was only natural and heartfelt for us to pay our respect, even if it is a socially distanced one,” expressed the team of Badshah Masala in a press statement.

(With inputs from Shikha Singh)

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