Zulfi Azad is the Director-Creative of Plan Media Private Limited, a marketing and advertising company based in Delhi and working for many big corporate houses in India. He is the one who is responsible for the branding and positioning of the company since last ten years, not only in India but abroad too. As we say, God help those who help themselves, this man has exactly proved that and has marked that nothing is impossible if you have a big aim in life. Let’s walk through his journey with this one-to-one conversation.
Q1. Tell us something about your early life.
A- I belong from a small suburban area in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand. After my schooling, I came to Jamia Milia Islamia for doing engineering. But, I realized engineer was not somebody I want to be. My interests and inclination was something different as I wasn’t satisfied. And as anybody in India would think, people around me thought that I was stupid for leaving engineering. In the following years, my decision paid off and I learnt that to feed stomach and achieve success, one does not need big degrees like engineering or medical. Some extra talent always pays off in a big way. I can say now that, to an extent, I am a brand in media industry. Talking of finding that extra talent, I even tried my hand in acting which eventually took me to the media world.
Q2. So have you ever thought of making your carrier in acting field?
A- No, I used to do it as a hobby only. My college gave me a platform to showcase my talent, winning Mr. Fresher contest boosted my confidence and I started enjoying it. As I was from a small state and at that time it was stamped with Bihar, people used to take me for granted. But when appreciation started coming, it gave me fun and enjoyment. When I started theatre, it made me feel that I should leave engineering dream and run behind my hobby. I had started doing production side by side with media course.
Q3. Is it true that media have no ethics today? Don’t you think it is harmful for the public?
A- It’s a debatable issue. Media is known as a fourth pillar of the society, but today it is working more as a business house. When I joined a reputed channel at a junior level, I realized that it’s all money game. There is money involved to start the news and to stop it as well. There are ethics but only to a limited level. Beyond this, it’s only a game played by all big names. Being a citizen, it is our responsibility to upgrade ourselves and be aware whether particular organization is media house or a business house.
Q4. Any bad experience or bad situation which you want to share?
A- Winners do not talk about bad situations, they deal with it. And I would refrain from talking about any as it’s part and parcel of life. Bad experiences are building blocks of our lives that gives us knowledge and strength to deal with bad situations. And I had many. Here is one of those.
Once, I was organizing an event. It was a big event and everyone was allotted their work respectively. One of my colleagues who was working with us thought that everything will work according to him and he will manage everything. He did all the work verbally to promote that event but he forgot to place hoardings, mentioning about the event. Since the advertising hording were not placed, it led to heavy loss for the sponsors. To compensate that loss for the sponsors was quite tough, but we had to manage anyhow. You won’t believe, at that time, somehow I arranged money and gave it to them. It was very difficult for a person like me who had such a low background. That time it came as a question mark on me that I could’ve executed the project on my own but I left it on someone else and this was the result.
After six months, I again organized an event in Ahmedabad, it was a big event and all big news channels were invited to cover it. I had learnt from my earlier mistakes and applied myself accordingly. It was quite a memorable and profitable event and I proved myself there. That event was a huge success and I got appreciation for that too. I became more confident and realized that I can do anything. Whatever I do, I do it to the best of my knowledge.
Q5. Where you see yourself in the coming years?
A- ‘Sky is the limit’ as they say. Professionally, I want to be known as a bigger, stronger and trustworthy brand. On personal front, I want to continue to live on my terms as I have all my life.
Q.6 What are your future plans?
A- I have planned for few new ventures, some are in implementation stage and some in planning phase. It is too early to comment. As far as events are considered, my calendar is quite full for the year.
Interview by Jyoti Roy