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Published: Friday, 5 February, 2016 4:30 PM
The morning of Feb 5, 2016 brought one of the saddest news to MICAns. The founder of MICA, Mr A G Krishnamurthy, aged 73, passed away at 6:08 am in Hyderabad following a brief hospitalisation. Nothing could have been more poignant and profound as he departed for heavenly abode on the 25th anniversary of MICA
Born on April 28, 1942 in a nondescript village of Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh, a young man completed his BA in History from Andhra University in the mid 1960s, and landed in Ahmadabad. Ahmadabad then was a bustling city of traders and myriad textile mill owners. A G Krishnamurthy, or AGK as he came to be called, would hardly have realised what lay in store for him or the future that beckoned him.
AGK’s early beginnings belied the long strides he would take in years to come. In 1968, he joined The Calico Mills, a big textile name in the 60s and 70s, as secretary to Giraben Sarabhai. In 1972, when the Sarabhai’s launched their Advertising Agency - Shilpi Advertising, AGK moved in there as an Account Executive.
Four years later, in 1976, he moved to Reliance Industries, as their Advertising Manager. Dirubhai Ambani had begun to build his huge industrial empire and AGK was there transforming his dream projects into a formidable brand.
Four years later, in March, 1980, AGK founded Mudra Communications as its Chairman & Managing Director. In 1989, Mudra became India's 3rd and the largest Indian advertising agency.
In March 1991, AGK, following in the tradition of Vikram Sarabhai, set up Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad (MICA) to create leaders in the advertising and media industries. His timing couldn’t have been more right. India’s tightly controlled and regulated economy was opening up to increased participation of private players and capital, new and unexplored business opportunities, and expanding role of market forces. At the other end, the media, especially television, were about to bedazzle the Indian audiences. The audiences themselves were turning suave, sophisticated, and even demanding. These were not just exciting times but times that challenged those who could dare to live a dream.
In a chapter on MICA in his book “If You Can Dream...” AGK recollected:
Several people, particularly from the media have asked me on several occasions: ‘Why did you have to create MICA?’
‘Someone had to do it. So I did’, has always been my reply.
MICA, has come a long way since then and is today one of the top institutes in the country but had it not been for AGK, the world would not have seen one of the greatest institutes of our times.
Sethu Iyer (Executive Registrar at MICA) who worked with AGK at Mudra Communications from 1989 to 2003 fondly recollects, “While Mudra was AGK's mission, MICA was his passion. When he founded MICA in 1991 it was, as he used to say, his way of repaying back to the advertising industry that had made him. He last visited MICA as the Chief Guest on its 14th Convocation in March 2009 and was very proud to see how his dream had shaped up. His favorite quote was Walt Disney's "If you can dream it, you can do it" and he was very successful in achieving all he dreamt of and much more. I have fond memories of meeting him on various occasions during my Mudra days, though I did not report to him directly. From, his letter that he wrote to me and which I have on my soft board, I quote "Should I have the power to go back in life, I would live it all over again in the same manner, with the same people.”
Sunjay Chandwani (Head, Estate and Admin at MICA) who worked with AGK from 1993 to 2003, said, “Destiny decides our birth and death but I think, here AGK has decided to quit on 5th Feb. Exactly 25 years back at 6:00 am, he must have been very excited and energetic to start for a day - we call it MICA Day.”
Shailesh Yagnik (Head, KEIC at MICA) who worked with AGK from 1994 to 2005, reminisces, “A man who could identify and visualize a gap, needs of the industry and created the MICA through his leadership quality to provide trained professionals for communication driven industry.
Nagesh Rao (President and Director, MICA) pays his tribute, “Today MICA has lost her parent, AGK, a dreamer, a builder, and a visionary. Every MICAn, past, present and in the future, owes a debt of gratitude to AGK for creating this incredible learning institute – MICA, Thank you AGK.”
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