destination india

Sunday, April 10, 2005

cooling solutions

Summer means keeping cool. The days of ice creams have melted into oblivion. Today, ice creams do not have much say in cooling solutions – the brands exist, each of them has an identity of its own. It appears that they are comfortable with whatever portion of business they have garnered. Probably, in their cases, the passion is unique; the relationship, a lasting one. Once you get hooked to a brand, it is difficult for others to separate the two of you. Unlike cold drinks where fickleness is more pronounced, one giant loses out on its clientele due to more attractive freebies on offer by its rivals.

Summer, anywhere, takes its toll in the form of release of water as perspiration. In order to compensate this loss, we increase our quota of the input of liquids, of which water is one. Whatever be the product, the ad spends on cold drinks invariably remain on top. They deal in big names that are presumed to generate big business. They strive to outdo one another in ideas. One of them has coined a new meaning for NRI, another feels that bubbles are permanent and will never burst.

Another solution to cool oneself is to look for comparatively cooler work and domestic environments to reduce heat generated losses. Options open to us are the air conditioned atmospheres. If all of us could spend the hot, sultry working days in centralized air conditioned surroundings, it would put out of business all those who swear by cooling solutions. Not just the ones who peddle cold drinks but, also, the ones who promote prickly heat powders, body soaps, hair oil and ceiling fans. It seems all of us possess powers to breathe out fresh sir that can, in turn, move the ladies stuck on the swings! Or, wean the unhappy and dis-satisfied wife away from her husband! Provided we pop the proper goli in our mouth, no questions asked! Ceiling fans that spread the cooling effect to every corner of the room are in the market with weird acronyms – no one is quite clear about what the alphabets in the acronyms stand for.

It seems that the best way to propagate such messages is through provocative dance numbers accompanied by appropriate jingles. Whatever be the product, a show of skin is akin to a show of strength.

A different genre of read –
Pay the Ransom and …

Thursday, April 07, 2005

bad business boys

‘B’, the second letter of the English alphabet, never had it so bad – Bollywoodians themselves are voicing their concerns and talking about all the bad business that Bollywood is spawning of late. It seems that in the first three months of 2005, the industry has reportedly lost up to Rs 100 crores. Out of the 41 films released in this period, 37 have bombed!!!!

It is not that they did not know it; it is only that the realization took a pretty long time to come. Big banners do not necessarily translate into big business but into bad business. We knew from time immemorial all that we needed to know about the birds and the bees, Shakespeare himself pondered whether ‘to be or not to be’. And, only the other day, the stalwarts of Indian cinema were heard ruing that the name Bollywood itself conjures up visions of a clone of Hollywood. They certainly have a case of renaming – if roads, airports and railway stations can be renamed, why not Bollywood? Trying to reverse the trend of flops, by renaming Bollywood could be a step in a different direction. Challenging tradition takes a lot of courage. Let the pundits put their heads together and arrive at a new avatar so that the resources, already available to our home industry, can produce something more creative, more appealing, and more acceptable. That will prevent them from complaining that copies and copies of copies are the routine of one of the largest film producing centers of the world.

Only father Time will tell us whether that direction is the right one.

As it stands today, a lay man considers the present film making of Bollywood as a game played by youngsters who have crores to spend. In lieu of that, they have a real good time (for at least six months!) with a horde of beauties for company and promises of super deluxe travel and accommodation worldwide. A few crores do not make any dent of sorts in their purses.

A different genre of read –
Pay the Ransom and …

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

anda ka funda

Last year we had that famous controversy surrounding cold drinks. ‘Thanda ka funda’ got the boot. Now it is the turn of eggs. Whilst agencies try to promote the consumption of eggs, it is now revealed that these shelled wonders contain high ‘dioxin’ levels – it seems that Indian samples exhibit 5.5 times higher than the EU limits.

The ‘anda ka funda’ seems to have undergone a complete turn around.

We grew up on eggs. In our nursery days we learnt all about Humpty and Dumpty who sat on a wall, fell down, and made a mess of their lives. The army was called in by the King but the poor creatures could not be reassembled.

As we stepped into our youth, we discovered that eggs are a sort of symbol of bachelorhood – different methods of preparation of eggs added to the repertoire of the bachelors’ cuisine capabilities. From simple boiled eggs, to half boiled ones, followed by the omelettes and scrambled eggs, the bachelors had to master the arts or go hungry. There were no pizza parlors around with the guaranteed promise of half-an-hour time limit for delivery; else it comes to you free. Neither were there two minute noodles that you just boiled in water and consumed as you took in the day’s news before making a bee line for the bus or tram or train or whatever to take you to your place of work.

In between it was reported that eggs add to your cholesterol levels – the yolk of eggs contain substances that dissolve readily in blood and result in blocked arteries of the heart. Hence eggs are to be avoided like poison. Consumers became cautious. It was expected that someone would come up with a variety of yolkless eggs as we have ‘sugarless’ sweetener tablets for the diabetics! That has not happened till now.

The fact of the matter is that we love eggs for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The delicious Moghlai pararthas of Anadi cabin and its clones are unimaginable without eggs. Even today the evenings of Kolkata are incomplete without those mouth watering egg rolls, wrapped and delivered to you on a platter - literally.


A different genre of read –
Pay the Ransom and …

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

the five star culture

What we had known all along is at last made official. We are a five star culture Nation. The ‘five star’ tag is, apparently, an indicator of excellence. Remember the dimple cheeked model of that famous ‘5-star’ ad who made it real big? That is the India of our dreams. We want to see life on the fast track; we want to wish away unpleasant sights. Let us increase the number of five star hotels that will serve five star lunches to our five star guests so that we can lay our hands on the five star dollars of the star spangled banner fame. What ever critics may say, we have full faith in our capabilities and believe that we deserve to be considered at par with Nations who have initiated the star culture in the first place.

Stars are born, not made.

Old timers who ruled the silver screen did so by virtue of their acting abilities. Whether it was serious matter or light hearted comedy, the characters remained etched forever in our memories because they were so natural. They did not have to undergo grooming courses or be guided along by their peers - they had the power to deliver the goods on their own and hence captured the minds of the audience. And, once they felt that they had given back to Society much more than they had received, they called it a day and retired graciously. Those who conduct annual awards do remember them once in a while and request them to come up on stage for one last bow.

It is, therefore, natural that we rely upon our established stars to continue to deliver because we are unable to identify replacements. The result is there for all of us to see – the angry young man of yore has to tolerate tantrums of kids, he has to kick the football, he has to don the robe of an Irish Brother (or Father!), he has to do sit ups to appease a girl, he has to try out tongue twisters. Over and above all that he has to, mandatorily, appear on polio campaign ads even though it is now common knowledge that the medicine (of polio doses) has found a new market as, no – not chicken feed but - pigeon feed!

You are welcome to visit for a change –
The Reader’s Nook

Monday, April 04, 2005

relative values and buddhi building

We have grown up listening to phrases like ‘the child is the father of the man’, ‘like father like son’, ‘having a blind maternal uncle is better than not having any maternal uncle’ and so on. Ever since our cradle days we were brought up with the knowledge that our teacher has a terribly soft corner for so-and-so because so-and-so’s aunt wields tremendous clout in the school administration. In college, we learnt that Mr. So-and-so will go all out to help so-and-so because the father of so-and-so can arrange his promotion or transfer, as the case may be. This culture spread to all walks of life. Whenever in trouble, we searched around for contacts. In today’s world, the only thing that makes sense is contacts. If you have them where they count the most, you can get away with blue murder, you can be glorified, and you can always remain on cloud nine.

In the olden days, it was customary for the son to follow in the footsteps of his father. The cobbler passed on his expertise to his son just as the priest did. No one saw any harm in continuing to keep the family tradition alive. It had its advantages, you were a known person, and your antecedents were no mystery. Hence, while you shared the affection of your clientele on the one hand, you simultaneously swallowed the abuses, when you earned their displeasure.

Today we debunk the same thinking calling it dynastic rule!

Of course, there are certain typical areas where such logics fail – an actor’s offspring may not shine as an actor or the offspring of sportspersons may not have the stamina or drive or interest of their fathers. The fathers do make efforts but, in a majority of the cases, they have to surrender to the inevitable.

That is why the phrase ‘buddhi building’ caught my eyes. It is not to be confused with body building. Leave it to our admen to come up with really cute words! For those who do not know, ‘buddhi’ means ‘intelligence’. Hence, use of such phrases in ads of drinks meant for children passes muster. The secrets of improving our energy have been disclosed, now it is the turn of intellectuals to come to the forefront.

You are welcome to visit for a change –
The Reader’s Nook

Friday, April 01, 2005

good bye nautch girls

The recent decision to ban dancing girls in the bars of Maharastra needs to be viewed in a proper perspective. It seems fresh rules are being framed to contain their ‘corrupting influence’ on the youth. But, with bellies of beautiful belles attracting so much attention in the ad world, with bubbles bursting all around us, one goes back to the days of belly dancing (to attract tourists!) and wonders what prompted such a decision.

The basic reason for issuing license to start dance bars is today history. In all probability it was done to allow moneyed clients to indulge in broadening their areas of influence and, simultaneously, tasting the sweets of life. Sipping hard drinks with only fried cashew nuts for company may have been the in-thing in the fifties and sixties but, today, concepts have changed. Movies of today depict heroines who impersonate dance girls and gyrate to loud music to help the hero apprehend the villain. One super popular movie showed the heroine, who is actually a police officer, impersonate a dance girl to enter the good books of the villain, who by the way, turns out to be the hero!

Heroines of yore blushed and hid their faces behind the pallus, they never needed to bare all. That role was kept reserved for vamps of the screen. The pay-cheques of heroines would be in lakhs while that of the vamps would seldom exceed thousands. Movies without a sprinkling of ‘vamp’ish dances are like pulao sans spices. Hence, for acceptance of the movie by the audience, such scenes were necessary.

However, today, heroines themselves perform the roles of vamps.

When called upon to explain the compulsions for showing off so much skin, their stock reply is – the script demands it. And, for every one girl who makes it big, there are hundreds who perish by the roadside. Till now, they were welcomed into the dance bars. After all, they also have to earn their livings and, dancing is by no stretch of imagination a bad profession. It is certainly better than that of thieves or pickpockets or even cheats. The latest decision compels them to look elsewhere. One option could be to enter the field of music videos.

How to counter the bad influence of music videos can be one more theme to keep the attention of people diverted from more serious matters.

You are welcome to visit for a change –
The Reader’s Nook