Best Buddies 2017

Manish Bhatt and Raghu Bhat

The advertising mavericks' 20-year-old friendship perfectly balances quirk and business

Soumik Kar

Manish Bhatt and Raghu Bhat have much more in common apart from their surname. Right from 1995, the duo switched jobs together in Contract Advertising, Ogilvy and Mather (O&M), Ambience Publicis, McCann, and eventually decided to get into their debut entrepreneurial stint by starting Scarecrow Communications in 2010. They have led such similar lives that the duo also got detected with high blood pressure at the same time! Their creative journey, which has been marked with ups and downs, hasn’t marred their personal equation, and that is clearly evident from the number of  historical anecdote-filled trips that they have taken together. While Raghu is a man of few words and prefers to be left alone with his books, Manish is a flamboyant and outspoken Gujarati, who prefers to speak up his mind. Raghu is also an internationally acclaimed short film-maker, known for his films Waif and Apollo Bunder. The football lover is also responsible for managing accounts at Scarecrow. Manish, on the other hand, does not shy away from exploring his creative instincts when it comes to implementing ideas. In a world that equates relationships with social media statuses and instant texts, both Manish and Raghu’s long-standing friendship thrives on one underlying factor — trust.

 Where did you first meet each other?

Raghu: I’m from Mumbai, but I got a job at Contract Advertising in Delhi. The job was related to direct marketing. I wasn’t comfortable with my boss and within two months into the job, I wanted to quit it. But I needed a portfolio, without which I could not apply anywhere. Since I am a copywriter, I wanted an art-director to do my layouts. That’s where Manish came into the picture. As an art director, Manish was someone who could execute my ideas. I remember sharing my ideas with him in the basement of our Janakpuri office and asking him to art-direct some of those.

Manish: I was introduced to Raghu through a mutual friend. I was told that Rag


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