Adman Anees Salim turns author

08 Nov,2012

By Ananya Saha


Anees Salim, Creative Head at Draft FCB Ulka, Kochi, has released his first book about the Emergency. Called The Vicks Mango Tree, it has been published by HarperCollins. With a canon of Indian literature about Emergency, Mr Salim said, “Yes, the Emergency has been widely written about. But, for a writer, the darkest period in India’s history never loses its charm as a subject. The Emergency had captured my imagination very early in life, even as a schoolboy, and let me add that The Vicks Mango Tree is not just about the elements of the Emergency that should be criticized, it is also about the elements that should be laughed at.” However, he is hopeful that readers will find a different take on the topic through his authored fiction.


When asked about his passion for writing, “To me, working on a creative brief and writing a book are two entirely different processes. I don’t think one process makes the other any simpler, unless you want to write a book on advertising or a novel set in the ad industry. But I do think advertising could be the ideal day job for a writer. This is the only day job I would do, and I am qualified to do. I would be a big misfit in any other industry,” said Mr Salim.


Mr Salim, a dropout and proud of the fact, joined advertising in the late 1990s. He started his career as a trainee copywriter with Draft FCB Ulka.


The adman is also authoring three other books. ‘The Blind Lady’s Descendants’ will be out in January 2013. Published by Amaryllis, the book tells story of a Muslim family living in a little known town. The book is in fact the suicide note of a young man named Amar Hamsa, who witnesses the slow decadence of his family. ‘Tales from A Vending Machine’, published by Harper Collins, will be a funny account of Hasina Mansoor, a 20-year-old girl running a tea vending machine at an airport lounge. A huge Bin Laden-fan and a fierce critic of America, Hasina is a keen observer of the sweeping changes in the Indian aviation industry. The book will come out in April-May 2013.


The fourth book – Vanity Bagh – will be published by Picador. It would sketch the picture of a tiny Pakistan inside a big Indian city against the backdrop of a serial bomb blast. The book should be in stores by the second half of 2013.


With a full-time advertising job, which in itself translates into whacky hours; how does he find the time to write? “In both the publishing and the advertising industries there are strict deadlines. I don’t claim to be an expert in managing time. But I sleep less, and start my day very early,” he quipped.


While Mr Salim hopes that the book does well and readers find a different take on Emergency through The Vicks Mango Tree, we are enamoured by the name.




From the Blurbs:

A few months after a state of Emergency has been clamped onIndia, Raj Iyer, a fledgling journalist living in the alley of the Vicks mango tree, goes underground, to resurface some years later in a corner of theMunicipalParkas a bronze statue. No ones sure exactly why he has become so famous, though there is talk of a book being written on him, which hails him as a modern hero of Mangobaag.


The Vicks Mango Tree is the story of the tiny fictional region of Mangobaag andIndiaas she limps through twenty- one months of suspended civil liberties, half-hearted revolts and stern censorships. It is also the tale of Teacher Bhatt, Rabia Sheik and Shankar Iyer, ordinary people in pursuit of their middle-class dreams, and local legends like Maharaja Muneer Shah, Miss Myna and Dr Abid Ali, who live and die in the dying light of a glorious past.


Full of odd characters and piquant situations, and alive with the politics and possibilities of a not-so-long-ago time inIndiashistory, The Vicks Mango Tree is a compelling first novel.



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