Guest Column: A tribute to 'Masala King' Mahashay Dharmpal Gulati Ji

His energy and commitment to work were commendable

Mumbai: "Never retire in your life. Be positive, things will always change. Do better and you will get the best out of life. You have to share the wealth to society, it's a cycle,” these are the lessons I had learnt from Mahashay Dharmpal Ji. His journey of building from scratch India’s most valuable spices brand was truly honest; a life lived to the fullest with values and commitment. 

I remember meeting him for the first time at his Delhi factory. He welcomed me with a warm gesture like he had known me for years. He offered me sweets and asked what he can do for me. Such was his simplicity.

And to my surprise, he also agreed in a jiffy when I requested him that I would like to work with him and his brand. He patted me on the back, showered his blessings on me and asked if I liked the actor for my MDH film. We instantly burst into laughter. I was overwhelmed with his greatness and this ability of his to make instant connections with anyone. 

Within a few days, he was in Mumbai for the shoot. I went to him asked if he is comfortable. To which he replied, “Don’t worry… Just tell me what time do I have to come for the shoot and what should I wear.”

Even on the shoot, he did most of the takes smoothly but constantly urged for retakes as he felt he could do better. After the shoot, he humbly asked if I liked the shots or he was willing to do it again. I was so nervous that I couldn’t say anything at that time. But to me that was his unbridled passion for work; his zeal to do the best in life. 

Our next meeting was in Delhi for the dubbing of the film and he enjoyed the whole process thoroughly. He truly taught me how important it is to love what you do to be the best at it. 

When I presented him the final film, he called all of his staff, the peons, his cook and told me the ad will only be approved if all of them liked it. It is the very vision that took his brand to heights of greatness. 

In the next many meetings, I have seen him making the masala and tasting himself. He worked on the formula again and again till he was satisfied. That is perfection. 

He was not only an entrepreneur of the finest calibre but also a true Indian at heart. He always used to perform havan at home before coming to the office, daily.

His fitness and energy were tremendous. Apart from being regular with his morning walks and exercise, even at the age of 97, he was a big workaholic, too. He used to work more than 12 hours daily even at this age. 

He made his brand without showing and obscene or vulgar pics and he was the face of the brand for more than 35 years. Still, we all have childhood memories of those MDH ads that ran on Doordarshan.

His passion for work and commitment to society was commendable. He has founded many schools and hospitals through his trust and served the people. He was truly a visionary who lived with honesty, worked till his last breath boots on and served the society with his social service and humanity. That’s why he was rightly awarded the Padma Bhushan for his service to people and society.

He always inspired everyone who came in his contact and I am privileged and honoured to have worked with him.

My sincere tributes to the legend, Mahashay Dharmpal Gulati Ji.

(The article is written by filmmaker and ad guru Prabhakar Shukla. may not subscribe to his views.)

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