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Manish Bardia: Man behind Modi's mask
Harit Bhaskar Mehta in New Delhi
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December 31, 2007

From making small advertisements for local cable networks to playing a key backstage role in Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's election campaign, the 39-year-old Manish Bardia's 16-year-old Moving Pixels Company has come a long way.

The fine arts professional's claim to fame is that he and his 30-member team designed and created the famous Modi masks and contributed to the Brand Modi campaign over the past six years. Bardia, however, prefers to downplay his contribution, attributing a large part of its success to Modi himself.

"Like professionals, we have executed the brief of our client. The entire campaign was conceived by Modiji and there were so many people who contributed to the success of the campaign," says Bardia. "Moreover with Modiji, one just has to execute his ideas and one is through," he adds.

Today, MPC has corporate clients such as Reliance [Get Quote] (Vimal), the Adani Group, Rasna, Motif India, Torrent [Get Quote], Ratnamani Steel, Intas Biotechnology and Hipolin, apart from several central and state government agencies like GSPC as well as various NGOs.

But the turning point in the company's fortunes was, undoubtedly, its bagging of the Modi government's campaign. "I have worked with many corporates. But Modiji's understanding of the media is unmatched and can put any top corporate honcho to shame," says Bardia.

He has carried out various media campaigns for the Gujarat government such as the Vibrant Gujarat 2007 summit, Jyotigram, and GSPC's gas find, to name just a few. MPC has also done four projects for Vasundhare Raje's government in Rajasthan.

It was in 2002, when the post-Godhra riots had resulted in a slowing in business, that Bardia got the chance to work with Modi. He shifted his office from Khanpur, a part of old, communally sensitive Ahmedabad to the posh Vastrapur area some time back. "The earthquake project we got from the state government worked out well," he says with pride.

After completing his commercial art course in 1990 from the C N Institute of Fine Arts in Ahmedabad, Bardia, who hails from a business family of Rajasthan, moved to Mumbai to work for ad agencies. A year later, he returned to Ahmedabad and started MPC in a rented accommodation. Another year down the line, Bardia got five more people to work for him.

"After working for a few years, we got noticed by ISRO and got a project for the PSLV launch. We did the animation for the project," he recalls. After this, there was no looking back.

The Ahmedabad-based company is now a part of the publicity department of ISRO's Mission-to-Moon project. That's where Bardia hopes his work will take his company some day.

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