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Designer statement for brand Bengal

Calcutta, April 16: Want to make it big' Be in Bengal.

The formula may sound ridiculous to many, but that has been the success mantra for ace designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee.

“Everyone used to tell me that I could never make it big in the industry from Calcutta. But I did not want to leave the place. Recently, even Sanjay Leela Bhansali (the film director) asked me to shift base to Mumbai, but I insisted that I would work from Calcutta,” said the 20-something hotshot designer.

He is stitching clothes for Amitabh Bachchan and Rani Mukherjee in Bhansali’s next film, Black.

Pepsi (the nickname the designer picked up in college) was speaking at a seminar on showcasing success stories from Bengal, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) as part of its annual general meeting.

Sanjay Budhia passed on the baton of chairmanship of the CII’s eastern region to B. Muthuraman, the managing director of Tata Steel, at the meeting.

“The fact that people from Bengal are moving out of the state in search of better opportunities and are never coming back makes me sad,” added Sabyasachi.

For him, being in Calcutta is an advantage as the intellectual strength of the city “rubs off” on him and enables him to produce the best.

Adman Prahlad Kakkar stressed this point while making his presentation on building a brand for Bengal.

“Bring the pride back among the people. Here the issue is perception and one can’t change it with a set of numbers and statistics,” Kakkar said.

“One needs a leader, who inculcates a sense of pride in people and that will lift the morale of the people,” he added.

Kakkar sees Andhra Pradesh’s N. Chandrababau Naidu playing the role to perfection.

He admitted that conditions had changed in Bengal, which has reached the “brink of credibility”, and now the government should try and communicate the development.

He drew examples — ranging from establishing Sachin Tendulkar as the most successful Indian brand to building up telecom operator Hutch — to drive home his point.

Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee dropped by to meet the corporate chieftains behind closed doors, seeking the help of CII in promoting Bengal.

He even requested Muthuraman to shift his base to Calcutta.

“I will need suggestions from you every now and then,” Bhattacharjee told him.

Not just industrialists, almost all the speakers present at today’s meeting had a few good words to say about Calcutta and its influence in shaping their careers.

“The city instilled in me three qualities — passion, humanity and compassion,” said Leander Paes, the tennis player.

Footballer Bhaichung Bhutia narrated how the city had played a critical role in his journey from a remote village in Sikkim to professional competition in England.

“There are many talented footballers around and we need support from the corporate sector to groom them,” the India captain said.

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