Anurag Mallick, Founder Director, Red Scarab Travel & Media.
On our show today, we have Anurag Mallick, Founder Director of Red Scarab Travel & Media in conversation with our host Ashutosh Garg. In the interview, Anurag shares his fascinating experiences of traveling, working in Bollywood, media, advertising, and much more.
On our show today, we have Anurag Mallick, Founder Director of Red Scarab Travel & Media in conversation with our host Ashutosh Garg. In the interview, Anurag shares his fascinating experiences of traveling, working in Bollywood, media, advertising, and much more. He tells us about the three key milestones in life, leaving the advertising industry and writing full-time as a travel writer was one of them. Anurag has done it all, writing lyrics for an indie band, working on a film in Bollywood, as a director and an actor, authoring several books, writing for many major travel publishings, and now he runs his own travel company which does a wide range of work across many industries.
Anurag tells us how he fell in love with traveling, he shares many interesting anecdotes from when he was traveling in Ladakh, which as he claims is his favorite place to visit in India. He then tells us how travel writing is different from the other forms of writing. He also shares about his stint in the film industry as an assistant director and a short role as an actor. He has had an extraordinary journey, listen to the interview to find more!
“If you want to figure out what you want to do, you should be clear about what you don’t want to do”- Anurag Mallick
Born in Darbhanga, schooled and raised in Jamshedpur, college in Delhi, a brief stint in Mumbai and loosely based in Bangalore – Anurag is a nomad at heart and a writer by choice. His eclectic media career spans advertising, a rock band, radio stations, film and travel/food writing in his current avatar.
After dropping out of business school, he joined advertising and spent four years at Leo Burnett, crafting copy for brands like Coca-Cola and Reebok. In between, he squeezed in a gap year, going AWOL as he trekked through the Parvati Valley, meditated with monks in a Buddhist monastery in Ladakh and hitchhiked from Leh to Manali in a truck before the passes closed for winter. Anurag rode the first dot com wave in Bangalore – briefly at Indya.com and then Oyeindia.com, where he developed a site on offbeat budget travel in India, covering most of his journeys on a 250 cc Yezdi Roadking. He has trekked in the Himalayas, taken a holy dip at two Maha Kumbh Melas, walked with kanwariyas at the Shravan Mela and jumped off a 160 m high bridge in Nepal to experience the world’s highest canyon swing.
One of India’s leading travel writers, his work has appeared in top publications like Conde Nast Traveller, Outlook Traveller, National Geographic Traveller, Lonely Planet, Deccan Herald, The New Indian Express, The Hindu, The Times of India, Time Out Explorer, Discover India and India Perspectives, the magazine of the MEA, among others. He has contributed to several Outlook Traveller guides like ‘52 Weekend Breaks from Bangalore’, ‘100 Holidays in the Hills’, ‘Trekking Guide to India’, and co-authored state guides on Karnataka, Odisha and Gujarat with his wife Priya Ganapathy. He’s also co-written books on Kerala and Karnataka for Stark World Publishing and the Michelin Green Guide to Tamil Nadu and the Golden Triangle, the 10th edition of the Rough Guide to India and South India & Kerala Guide besides a cookbook for the USDA – Southern Comfort: Southern American Soul Food. He has co-scripted four documentary films for Andaman Tourism, hosted by Tom Alter. Anurag is also part of Wild World India, a nature/wildlife tour company (voted 100 Best Traveller Outfitters on Earth by National Geographic Traveller 2009) and has visited most of India’s wildlife parks.
While travel has been a constant theme, Anurag has dabbled in diverse media. As part of Bangalore-based experimental rock band Document: Done, he wrote lyrics and became the ‘spoken word’ to mask his self-acknowledged lack of singing talent. With songs like Ye Akashvani Hai, Kill the Band, Down MG Road and Free Tibet, the band gained meteoric success. It won Radio City Live in 2001 and performed to a 30,000 strong audience at Palace Grounds alongside Pentagram, Euphoria and joint-winners Antaragni (now Raghu Dixit Project). Channeling his love for radio and music, he conceptualized two popular 1 min jingles for Base Terminal (a folk song with Raghu Dixit and a qawwali with Suleiman Bhai Dilliwale), before joining Radio City Delhi in programming, where he hosted a popular Sunday request show ‘Paaji Please’ and interfaced between programming and sales for innovative radio concepts. He later joined Radio Indigo Bangalore as Creative Head in a similar role. Anurag made his writing/acting debut in Bollywood in Priyadarsan’s Aakrosh, assisting on the screenplay and dialogues. Thanks to his travel expertise, he also did location hunts in Chettinad, Diu and Pune for the film and scouted for locales in Coorg for Vishal Bharadwaj’s 7 Khoon Maaf.
Together with his wife Priya, he runs Red Scarab Travel & Media, working closely with tourism boards/publications/PR and customizing solutions for the hospitality industry. They were roped in by Total Environment Hospitality to curate culinary journeys around Karnataka and document its traditional cuisine for a pan-Karnataka restaurant. The 2-year research project saw them travelling with two chefs and a video crew, cooking with locals handling everything from recipes, food trials, menu development to social media. Launched in June 2017, Oota Bangalore won the Best Emerging Restaurant at LFEGA (Living Foodz Epicurean Guild Awards) 2019 and featured in Condé Nast Traveller’s Top 50 Restaurants in India.
More recently, Anurag and Priya curated the India episode of Gordon Ramsay Uncharted: Season 2 in Kannur and Coorg, which premiered in June 2020 on National Geographic and Disney+Hotstar. They are starting off on a new Food & Drink column for Deccan Herald from Jan 2021.