The driving force at ‘The Advertising Club’ (Ad Club Bombay) since 1998, Bipin Pandit, its Chief Operating Officer currently, is a man of many talents. A passionate and much-loved human being in ad circles, his ‘Khumaar’ journey is fuelled by his love for music and Bollywood.
Picture this. He runs a secretariat that runs the largest advertising awards of this country, across creative, media and effectiveness. Alongside, he’s a singer, a mimicry artist, compere and event organiser. His event brand ‘Khumaar’ – or experiential intellectual property, if you will – is 16 years old excluding two years of Covid.
Mimicry of film stars is perhaps where it all started, in his childhood. People appreciated his baritone, deep voice and encouraged him to perform at public forums. He had an innate fondness for Hindi and Urdu, so with added shayari talent, he was tailor-made to be a show host.
Talking about early days, Pandit says, ‘By God’s grace I didn’t have to struggle and started doing big banner shows that got appreciated; I kept getting up to three shows a day. At times it used to be both mimicry and compering, or sometimes one each for 20 to 25 minutes. Being a professional, I used to get paid for it. I did shows with Babla, Jhankaar, Gunjan; Babla is incidentally the brother of Kalyanji Anandji. I did his (Kalyanji’s) shows also, covered all banners, performed at all auditoriums in Mumbai, travelled and performed at Gujarat, Chennai, Gulbarga, Kolhapur and Sangli, to name a few.”
So the musical journey started well before his long ad club innings. He was fond of PR and communications and landed up at ‘The Advertising Club’ where his connections kept increasing. Pandit was and remains the point person for the ad and media industry for prestigious ad awards like the Abby’s, Effies, International Effies and Emvies.
‘Khumaar’ as a brand took shape as Bipin Pandit the brand evolved. He recalls: “I thought being an artiste, having a lot of contacts, performing over the years, having knowledge about events, why not start my own banner or a brand and convert that into a big brand? ‘Khumaar’ is an Urdu word meaning intoxication, applied here as to intoxicate people through music. My tagline is ‘Experience musical intoxication’. All the big people in the industry started attending with their families. My bosses at The Advertising Club also encouraged me. The beauty of being in advertising-media-marketing is that people understand art. As I started building ‘Khumaar’ the graph kept on growing. I started at a school like Welingkars in Matunga, then went to MET in Bandra. I started doing a show in an auditorium of 500 people at Savarkar then at Manik Sabhagriha with an audience of 700 then at Ravindra Natya Mandir with 1,000 and now I did one show at St. Andrews which again has around a 1,000 capacity. It was a full house show and people are not satisfied even with four hours of live entertainment. I went to Baroda, Indore and now ‘Khumaar’ has an audience there too.”
Being a huge fan of music and Mohammed Rafi, people are asking Pandit to speak about him from various quarters and they put it on YouTube. Even Rafi’s family members have given him a lot of respect and ask him to speak about the legend.
Speaking on the size, members and format of the shows, Pandit explains, “At a given point of time on stage there are around 20 people working including musicians, singers etc.. It’s a team. The beauty about ‘Khumaar’ is that it is a segmented show with solos, duets, classical songs, ghazals, regional songs.”
There is also a special segment called ‘Khumaar Ki Khoj’ wherein every year Pandit does a show with an inbuilt talent hunt. From across India, two or three new artistes are chosen to perform and given an opportunity.
“I promote that talent and today I am very proud to say that there was a young girl from Nagpur, Shrinidhi Ghatate; she was 16 years old then and by God’s grace I could give her a chance. Today she has started singing with Shankar Mahadevan. She is introduced by Shankar Mahadevan as the future Shreya Ghoshal,” says Pandit.
As many in adland know, Pandit brought out a coffee table book on music legends ‘Khumaar’ with several industry stalwarts including Piyush Pandey having contributed articles on music and music legends. It was launched by Pyarelalji, of the famous Laxmikant-Pyarelal Jodi. Prasoon Joshi had attended the launch. As he completed 20 years at Ad Club, Pandit was also witness to a ‘Khumaar Express’ in a tabloid format, in which industry stalwarts spoke endearingly about him.
He is also active on YouTube and interviewing celebrities under the title ‘Khumaar Bhari Baatein’ – talks that are curated to intoxicate, add humour and fun to life.
On future plans, Pandit says, “I plan to cover all India and if I get a chance, to perform abroad as well. My forthcoming big show is on 1st October. Since it is coming after two years I plan to do a mega show and I am launching three new singers besides five established singers. Among the three new singers one is from Nasik and another from Malegaon.”
On his website www.bipinpandit.com, one can find what scores of industry professionals have written about him, and more of what this multifaceted ‘pundit’ of advertising, media, marketing, music and cricket has been upto.
Pandit’s long and celebrated journey with The Advertising Club continues. So does his unbeaten innings of delivering live musical intoxication.