A return to their roots after more than two decades

Those behind Gothara, an ad agency in Alappuzha, are taking up poll-related works again

For them, the 2020 local body elections mean a return to their roots. In 1982, three youngsters D.P. Gopindran, K.R. Thankaji and Ranganath, all from Punnapra in Alappuzha, joined hands to start an advertising firm — Gothara (the initial letters of their name).

Soon Gothara became much sought after, especially by political parties, during elections with it doing all kinds of poll advertisements from making banners, poll graffiti and wall writings. Times went by and the trio went their separate ways. Thankaji joined the government service and Gopindran, the artist among them, took a job with an advertisement agency in Dubai in 1997, bringing curtains on their collaboration.

COVID effect

But, after a gap of more than two decades, they are back working together thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and local body polls. “We are thrilled to do poll graffiti and campaign-related works again,” says Thankaji who retired from government service last year.

“Back in the 1980s and early 1990s, we used to do a lot of graffiti among other works for parties cutting across political lines. Although we all went our own ways, we remained united and ensured Gothara remained active all these years with the help of employees. After Gopindran returned from Dubai following the COVID-19 pandemic and decided to take brush during this election, I too joined him,” Thankaji says.

Ranganath, who is recuperating from a surgery, is not currently active in the poll scene.

Full circle

Gopindran says that he has come full circle. “Starting an advertising agency was in our minds. One day a friend challenged us to shave our heads. We readily accepted the challenge without bothering about the hilarious comments it would evoke among the family and friends’ circles. After shaving our heads, we tried to put up a banner depicting three bald heads on a tree in Punnapra market, as we thought it would be a great promotion to the soon-to- be launched advertising agency. As it was in the middle of a festival at the Punnapra Aravukad temple, the police prevented us from putting up the banner. The then panchayat vice president intervened and we got away with it. We soon launched Gothara and it became a success,” says Mr. Gopindran adding that they are taking up works of all political parties this election.

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