Anil Thakraney: Behind the interview

10 Sep,2012

By Anil Thakraney


Mxmindia has completed one year. And it’s been one helluva ride for this happening portal in terms of breaking news and belting out power opinions. Am sure things will get hotter with time.


I have contributed in many ways out here, but let me celebrate the first anniversary by writing a brief comment piece on five of the big-league personalities I interviewed during the year. This is my own take on them, it’s something you didn’t get to read about in the interview.


(PS: All the rest of the interviews I have done have been equally interesting.  I have chosen these five people at random.)


Piyush Pandey: Always a joy to meet. I have interviewed him on four different occasions, and each time we’ve had many roaring laughs. Even when the topic is serious. I have always believed humour is at the heart of the man’s success. The only downside: It becomes difficult to resist bumming one of his cigarettes. As an ex-smoker, this is the biggest challenge for me when I meet Piyush.


R Balki: Meeting him for an interview is like bonding with an ex-colleague. He was my boss at Lintas, and so we know each other pretty well. This fires up our conversations, and we always have a super exchange. And Balki makes sure he has some fun at my expense too. Well, as they say, once a boss, always a boss! The cigarette resistance challenge exists here as well. Perhaps the only thing common between Piyush and Balki, haha.


Meenal Baghel: Again, she’s an ex colleague, so there was built-in trust during the discussion. I have done many interviews for Meenal, she knows what I do for a living, she commissions the stories because of that. Which is why I am sure she knew exactly what was coming her way. I do suspect Meenal arrived ready for a tough interview. And the best part is, even though the fireworks were blazing, we were mostly smiling through.


Lynn de Souza: We go way back, and this certainly helps. When you know a person for such a long period of time, it becomes a friendly banter, rather than a killer interview. But this didn’t stop me from going after her. And what partially saved Lynn that day is that my tape recorder conked out half way through. Hot tip for young journos: Lynn is a dog lover. Wax eloquently about your pet (even if you don’t have one), and be assured of an insightful interview. 🙂


Agnello DiasAgnello Dias: A totally refreshing experience. You return home feeling better as a human being. And that’s because Aggie, despite his glorious achievements, is completely down to earth and simple. He’s not changed a bit since he started out as a young copywriter. My belief is that staying grounded has helped Aggie connect with the man on the street. Hope he is able to retain the earthiness post the Dentsu acquisition. The moment Aggie lets it all go to the head, the road is downhill.


Congrats to mxmindia. And here’s looking forward to many more interesting interviews in the coming period.


Anil Thakraney is a senior journalist and editor living in Mumbai. He has held top positions in advertsing agencies as well as newspapers. And he is Editor-at-Large, MxMIndia. Mr Thakraney writes for MxM a blog that appears thrice a week (Hard Knocks) and a creative review (Debrief) twice. And, of course, he also does an interview at least once a month (that’s enough, we can hear media honchos whispering. – Ed).


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