All of us know and admire Boman Irani as a character actor par excellence. However a lesser known facet of Boman Irani’s life is that he spent a decade working as a professional photographer. He started out by specialising in sports photography. Reminiscing about that time, Boman fondly recalls one of his early assignments: photographing a boxing tournament. He was promised that if the photographs came out well, he would be made the Official Photographer for an international boxing championship event that was slated to take place in Mumbai. For Boman who was just starting out in his photography career, the stakes were high.
So what did Boman do? He avoided the beaten track. He made it a point not to follow the herd. In fact, he did the very opposite of what everyone else was doing. If all the press photographers were clustered in one corner of the boxing ring, Boman would be at the other end – alone, getting a completely different perspective on the fight. When the other photographers were crowded around the ring, Boman was up in the rafters getting unique top angle shots of the action. The outcome – Boman’s photographs were so good that he was made the Official Photographer of the World Cup of Boxing held in Mumbai in 1992.
This experience was invaluable. It led Boman to formulate a tenet that would eventually become the main mantra for everything that he did in life: “Do not do what everybody else does. Do it differently.”
One can see this philosophy at work behind every role that Boman plays. He can play a father (Lucky Singh of Lage Raho Munna Bhai or Batook Patel of Housefull 3) without perpetuating the stereotypes set earlier by stalwarts like Ashok Kumar, Nasir Hussain and Om Prakash. He can play a villain (Vardaan of Don 2 or Khurana of Khosla Ka Ghosla) without replicating standard templates used by classic baddies like Prem Chopra, Madan Puri and K N Singh. Clearly, Boman has always chosen to do things differently and one can see it firsthand in the dazzling array of unique personalities that he has essayed over the years.
P Mark Mustard Oil (for which Boman Irani is the brand ambassador) has traversed a similar path, always staying away from the beaten trail. While the SME-mindsets of all other mustard oil brands made them shy away from mainstream advertising and marketing initiatives, P Mark embarked on ambitious Pan-India mass media advertising campaigns that dramatically expanded its distribution footprint and exponentially increased the salience of the brand. While other mustard oil brands continued plodding along with their timeworn packaging and brand imagery, P Mark activated a radical brand rejuvenation initiative aimed at making the packaging more user-friendly and contemporary, thus enhancing the brand’s appeal among a younger, more urban set of consumers. Across a journey of more than eighty years, P Mark has always done things differently.
Even in choosing its brand ambassador, P Mark adopted a courageously different stance. It avoided the pretty faces… those stereotypical female brand ambassadors that all other edible oil brands seem to go for. Instead, P Mark’s choice was Boman Irani. It represented an amazing meeting of minds since Boman too has always been someone who chooses to do things differently.