Sunday, June 24, 2007

The 'Brussels' Touch Off the Field

"Collaboration with De Ridder and Exposure to European Comics that changed my world of cartooning drastically"- Bibek Sengupta

Philippe De Ridder, or 'Indi' as we call him, is a Belgian coach, football administrator and a former football player. De Ridder is highly regarded for his specialty in discovering young, unknown talent, and his ability to revive teams from troublesome situation. Besides being a football coach, he is an art director, cartoonist and musician.

The Pied Piper of East Bengal Club: De Ridder coached Kolkata's East Bengal in two seasons. First time in 2005-06, where his team finished 2nd in the National Football League table. In 2009, he signed with East Bengal again during the mid phase of the I-League, when East Bengal was having the most disastrous season of their entire history. De Ridder then patched up the team from the miserable conditions and went into the national level tournament Federation Cup as the underdogs. When even their die-hard fans were predicting an early exit for the team, De Ridder and his men returned as champions of the tournament and beating their arch rivals, Mohun Bagan, 2-0 on the way. Like that famous German folk tale he came, he saw and he saved like a Pied Piper (the name indeed suits him as he is a saxophone player and occasional performer).

360 Studio: As I said, he is a multi-talented personality, fantastic cartoonist and an experienced Art Director. It was kind of coincidence that we met at his Salt Lake residence in 2006 when he was looking for talented individual who can work with him on some creative assignments parallel to his coaching career. We were surprised to see each others works especially cartooning, spent hours glancing through and appreciate each others cartoon portfolio. After few days one fine morning I got a call from him.
De Ridder wanted to check if there is any possibility to work together as he is having some creative projects in mind. I was working full time in a web development company as Sr. Web Designer that time where parallel working or freelancing was not allowed, but some reason I could not turn down his offer. I agreed to join his Studio 360 as part-time creative consultant designer. We worked together for just couple of months and executed some of most interesting and creative projects of my career ranged from web design to multimedia teaser, football cartoons to branding and everything in between. Like all good things this venture also came to an end abruptly, when he left his job of coaching Chirag United FC due to some disagreement with the club officials and left India soon after that.

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