Commits organizes its mega annual seminar - Expressions - in January every year to bring together celebrity speakers to interact with over 1,000 students. Besides this mega event ‘mini-seminars’ and workshops are also organised every term, with well-known authors, media critics and professionals as speakers.
The most recent seminar was Expressions 2012. Read on...
The annual media seminar conducted by Commits, at which some of the best and most important media personalities participate, scaled new heights this time around, which was fitting considering that the college is celebrating its 10th anniversary.
The mega event was lighted up by the presence of luminaries such as Rajdeep Sardesai, R. Balki, Samar Khan, Pawan Kumar, and Sonal Dabral, who graciously took time from their busy schedules to talk to more than 800 college students from Bangalore and elsewhere.
Expressions 2012 started off with the traditional lamp-lighting ceremony, which was followed by the invocation song, and a dance performance by Commits students. All in the audience were enthralled, to say the least, by the mellifluous voices of the singers and the fleet-footed movements and precision choreography of the dancers. Next, our dean, Ranita Hirji, our chairman, Collin Timms, and the university vice-chancellor, Prof. B.K. Kuthiala, who flew down from Bhopal especially to attend this event, then made brief speeches. Then it was time for the main event.
“Ideas are fragile and they need to be nurtured”
The first to speak was ad-man SONAL DABRAL. The chairman of Bates India is a well-known figure in ad circles across the country. He was the man who made sure that every time we ate a Cadbury’s Dairy Milk bar we would think of that pretty damsel who danced onto a cricket ground with the chocolate bar in her hand. Being the first speaker, he made sure that his speech was an engaging, inspiring, and entertaining one.
Dabral also displayed to us all facets of his personality, including his ability to mimic our film stars. His rendition of “Kora kagaz tha yeh man mera” from the 1969 Bollywood hit, Aradhana, along with all the Rajesh Khanna antics that had made this song so popular in its time, had the crowd in splits. After warming up the audience, Dabral became serious and spoke about ideas and their importance in our lives. “Ideas are fragile and they need to be nurtured... just because it came easy doesn’t mean that that the idea’s not big,” said the man whose gut feeling gave India one of its cutest actresses, Preity Zinta, whom he had cast in the Cadbury Perk ad when she was just the girl next door.
Dabral’s speech was an inspiration to all present; indeed, it was truly a worthwhile experience to listen to this great ad-maker who has also had stints on television as a VJ and as an anchor.
"Reach for the stars, think big"
SAMAR KHAN, the television head of Red Chillies Entertainment, was next up on the dais. Having walked along different career paths in his life, he was able to share a lot of experiences. He laid stress on the idea of dreaming big even as he asserted that dreams had nothing to do with one’s academic background.
Khan spoke about his working experiences as well as the experiences that helped him grow as a person. His speech was filled with quips such as “If you don’t want to be a woman, be a Karan Johar” and “If I don’t have good ideas, my boss would have to dance at weddings. "
But the most inspirational thing he said was “Have the conviction to say '‘I'll do it', reach for the stars, think big." Samar Khan’s quick wit and irreverence ensured that the audience got much more than they bargained for.
"Come up with an idea that’ll place you in the top 5%"
When R. BALKI, the creative head of Lowe Lintas and the director of Paa and Cheeni Kum, began to speak, it was evident that the man meant business. He spoke briskly but made sure that he chose his words correctly; his talk – clear and to the point – was a reflection, perhaps, of how he went about making the ads and the films that have made him a legend in the industry.
Balki spoke to the audience about how film-making is as easy as coming up with an idea while its execution is as intricate and complicated as a scientific experiment. He batted for the films that are made in India, saying that it’s only because we get to see the best films from the west that we think our films are bad and theirs are never poorly made.
When he was asked a question during the Q&A session about how to begin making films, he said, “Up to 95 per cent of the films that we see are rubbish. To make sure you are in the remaining five per cent you have to come up with an idea that would be better than those 95 rubbish ones.” Balki’s directness and clarity of thoughts would have enabled the audience to take from the seminar the very essence of film-making from one of the best in the business.
“In journalism, no two days are the same”
Having spent more than 25 years as a journalist, RAJDEEP SARDESAI knows the news industry like none of his peers perhaps. He spoke on topics ranging from the schizophrenic nature of television audiences to the so-called sensational content on regional news channels, content that he justified on the basis of the audiences they cater to.
Every word Sardesai spoke was hard-hitting and called for a lot of introspection from both people in the news industry and people aspiring to be part of it. “There are more than 363 news channels in the country, but the big question is: Has quantity brought quality?” Sardesai asked. He said that the concept of breaking news has indeed broken down and people have forgotten how to tell stories.
Sardesai also discussed the power of television and its impact on our minds. “Television has the capacity to wake up people for the right reasons provided we know how to use it,” he said. Towards the end of his speech he talked about how interesting his life as a journalist was. “Fortunately, in journalism no two days are the same,” he said with a smile. The audience then made full use of the opportunity to ask Sardesai all the questions that they could think of.
“It's important to make mistakes”
PAWAN KUMAR was the next to take the stage. Young, popular, and successful, he was the perfect role model for all the youngsters in the auditorium. Having quit his engineering degree course midway to take up a career in filmmaking, he spoke about the importance of making mistakes, learning from them, and taking correctional action.
Pawan Kumar’s humility in admitting all the mistakes he had made gave him an instant connect with the audience. He made sure, however, that he did not encourage the audience to have any starry dreams. “It’s not a bed of roses; there is a lot of struggle involved and chances are that you will face more rejection than success,” he said.
He also spoke about how creativity brought about in him an urge to make his presence felt. He emboldened the youngsters listening to him to be go-getters and make things happen for their creative projects.
Pawan Kumar’s inspirational life story and his speech made way for the most number of questions that were asked of a speaker. It was evident from the questions that he had given the audience a lot of food for thought and a lot more to introspect. After all, in the words of the title of his Sandalwood hit, Lifeu Ishtene (This is all there is to life).
The star-studded affair came to an end soon after Pawan Kumar’s speech. The seminar was a mega success and we knew that Expressions 2012 had lived up to expected standards, and even bettered them, when attendees told us afterwards that they were looking forward to the next edition already.
Click here for Expressions 2012 pictures
Click here to watch the highlights of Expressions 2012