Mumbai: On 22nd February 2020; SVKM’s NMIMS School of Branding and Advertising hosted the “The Itch Summit” at Mukesh Patel Auditorium, where we welcomed a diverse panel of game-changers whose Itch to revolutionize social norms drove them to push against the barriers in people’s mind and change the way they think.
The day kicked off with a moving speech by supremely talented “Badhaai Ho” Actress Neena Gupta, while sharing her life experiences, she quoted, “No one lives life on their own terms. I made the best of what God gave me”.
Air Marshal Sunil Shripad Soman, Commanding- in- Chief of Western Air Command, is an army professional whose service as Assistant Defence Advisor, Air Defence Commander & Aide-de-Camp to the President of India, has won him several awards. A firm advocate for the Indian army, he gave valuable advice about what it takes to be a great leader and the challenges that molded him into the man he is today.
His session was followed by Pratish Nair, Founder and MD, PKSBE and a creative idealist, his speech pushed the audience to introspect and revealed profound truths about marriage, college and his journey as an entrepreneur.
Our next speaker was Moshe Shek, the owner of standalone restaurant-Café Moshe: the first Mediterranean cuisine restaurant introduced in India. When asked about his achievements he said, “The journey has been rough. But if you love it, fell for it and not the money and fame, you will succeed.”
Following him, were the delightful owners of a tea stall, Balaji Vijayan and Mohana Vijayan, whose Itch to chase their dreams compelled them to traverse the world to over 23 countries. Their heartening story inspired people to chase their Itch, wherever it takes them and sheds light on the difference between Indians and foreigner’s behavior towards the development of our countries.
Vijay Barse, popularly known as the founder of Slum Soccer, on his quest to better the lives of underprivileged children, established a coaching academy that turns sports into a way of life. “Work for your own satisfaction, not others. Insaan bano aur dusron ki chinta karo (Show some humanity and help others)”
Thereafter, the second session commenced with an engaging discussion between Ron Malhotra, Business Advisor, Founder, “The Successful Male” and MD, “Maple Tree Wealth”, and Prahlad Kakar – “Advertising Guru” and Co-Founder & Chairman, PKSBE. The eye-opening discussion provided a wealth of knowledge on the value of money, people’s mentality towards money and the attitude a person needs to have in order to have success chasing after them. “There are 4 aspects of professional success: who you know, what you know, who you are and who knows you. Education system teaches the first two, but fails to express the other, more important two”, says Ron Malhotra.
Our next speaker was the renowned sex educator Anju Kish, whose Itch to “Untaboo” the topic of Sex has promoted safe sex practices and ensured that young adults form healthy, stable relationships. “Be a friendly parent, not a friend,” she advises them, “More importantly be an Askable parent.”
Delivering a rousing speech, our next speaker, Lt. Col Manoj Sinha, was a retired army veteran who triggered a movement that dispelled the notion that crying is a sign of weakness and encouraged men around the world to embrace their vulnerabilities. He expressed his fear and concern for our nation with a heart-wrenching poem that rooted the audience to their seats.
Speaking next was Shreya Reddy, an LGBT Activist whose unbreakable spirit in the face of discrimination made her a paragon of strength. Her inspiriting speech shed light on the challenges and setbacks faced by people in the LGBT community and further expressed her itch to eradicate discrimination in our society. “We don’t want sympathy. We want empathy.”
Gun-wielding legend, Chandro Tomar, lovingly called “shooter Dadi” decided to shoot her shot with sharpshooting and at the age of 85, is the oldest sharpshooter in the world! Her inspiring speech motivated people to work hard, do good and be strong. With her sweet but firm manner, she proved to all women pan-India that no one can dictate their lives and there’s no limit to ambition, not even age.
Vasan Bala, a maverick in the film industry, he is known for his unorthodox ideas and talent for capturing the depths of the human psyche in his films- “Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota”, “Raman Raghav 2.0” and others. “Brace yourselves,” he says” for a new generation who will not follow norms.”
To engage the audience’s attention, our next speaker was the celebrated film director and screenwriter, Nitesh Tiwari, known for his iconic films: Chillar Party, Dangal, Chhichhore, Bhootnath Returns, etc. In his speech, he talked about the value of thinking differently and the importance of staying rooted in reality. “Sometimes the wrong train, takes you to the right station.”
The summit’s final speaker was the acclaimed Opera Singer, Amar Muchhala, who spoke about the values and philosophies that helped him make his mark on the world. The story of his struggles with his speech impediment and his passion for western classical music, have garnered the admiration and respect of people around the world and proved that passion trumps fear. He ended his session with an impressive performance that completely stunned the audience. Thus ending the evening on a high note.
The Itch Summit concluded with an enlivening dance performance as a grand tribute to Bollywood’s Greatest “Khujali” – Sridevi.