Who Moved My Maggi, Colas and all That Celebrity Junk?
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Open your TV and you will see a certain Ms Dixit jumping and selling Maggi noodles as healthy breakfast option for whole family or Mr. Bachchan talking about "Special Recipe" for a Rice Brand. Awww but didn't Mr Bachchan in one of the TOI's recent interview said that he does not eat rice? Ahem not even that teaspoonful in TV ad? Never mind, you shift channel and you see our favorite bhaijan selling an aerated drink saying- darr Ke aage Jeet hai. Yes, you were scared to drink and drive. So you diluted your darr with cola and rammed across a poor street man, killing him. Well that's not important as accidents can happen anywhere with anyone. What is more important is cause Darr ke aage jeet hai, so you stop getting scared of consequences you may face [or others] for your negligence and still go victorious, only to come back on TV, make million bucks selling colas and Darr Ke aage jeet hai. Brilliant, You are being human and let us support your deed even if that means killing endangered black bucks for thrill, pulling girlfriend x1 in hotel lobby by hair, banging door at middle of night- threatening girlfriend x2 of dire consequences, running car over sleeping pedestrian and blaming it on driver, aaya, bai carpenter. Jai Ho!
And then we have SRK, the new age mega star who is all willing to sell everything from an inner garment to a Chywanprash, Cola, House interiors, female beauty soaps and even telephone connections as long as it gives him moolah, fancy production houses and money that he may not need. But then, he may not need"endorsement ethics" too cause he has reserved that only for his roles in films, which too rakes in moolahs showing pseudo morality and singing- yeah mera India, I love India. Good news is that he is purely businessmen and entertainer who hasn't have any criminal record as yet.
It is not about Superstars like AB, Aishwarya Rai, Madhuri Dixit or SRK. Nor is it about the Moolahs they make. [you can't blame them but economic disparity of country and advertiser's lack of creativity]. It is about celebrity endorsements in general and the ones with some amount of integrity.
Celebs these days are selling just everything. From dancing at rich people's weddings to taking product placements in movies to movie trailers to sportsmanship. Problem is not with commerce but the arts. I thought they are pretty intelligent people [irrespective of films they do] who do their market research before a brand approaches and offer them an endorsement for the "brand" they represent, India and abroad.
A year back when Kangana Ranaut refused million INRs for Fairness cream ad citing it may hurt her sister', who is otherwise not as fair emotions, the world did not took as much notice as they did when her films became hit and she, a bigger name than Khans and Kapoors. BTW have you noted that K in indeed a lucky Letter for Bollywood with all top celebrites- Khans, Kapoors, Khanna, Kumar and now Kangana, deepi-Ka Padu-Kon have a K in it.. No just think through it. Amitabh Bachchan can be an exception but then, he had KBC, wher e10 seconds of ad airtime demanded nothing less than a whopping INR 6 Lakhs.
We know Amitabh sells. But what more important is what is Amitabh selling?
Amitabh Bachchan is a symbolic name here and as an actor if he has commercial value attached to him, he also have magnanimity attached to him in name of doing the Polio campaign and Gujarat Campaign for free. However, how many celebs follows the suit unless they are not in soup? Reportedly, a certain female superstar had declined doing her State tourism promotion for free which miffed the officials till next time she does a politically correct act for them. Her excuse was- state would make money using her as ambassador so why should she do it for free? True that. You were as well informed about the tourism profitability but no time to research the "MSG laden subsidized with goodness of oats" instant food that you were pitching to world and children becasue you act convincingly on screen, leading the public to believe the genuine businessperson you all are.
Money makes the Mare go Merry Go Round
Nevertheless, the point in case is how conscious our celebs are or should be when they are using their special charm, popularity and tell a nation that adores them for the roles they play [often the idealistic people] to use a certain product that may not be Pulse Polio medicine but a consumer brand like MSG oops Maggi that may have spent less than 20 Crores in research and quality testing but whooping 400+ cores in advertising? Advertising using celebs who may not need money for sustenance but glory without even thinking twice that this price tag may cost them their integrity or make them do/endorse brands in false lights. What? You said it is unealistic for our superstars to conduct test and research about the brand they endorse? really? With the kind of dietitian, physician and trainers they have for their entourage, who tells them what to eat and at hour, you think it is "unrealistic" for a superstar to know that Maggi could be harmful? Especially you have an in house doctor husband pitching in a water purifier brand with you in another ad. Whatever happened to the rules which said Doctors cannot promote a specific brand on TV? The policy that striped off the medical practitioner's rights from the pretty Maya Alagh who volunteered for a brand on Doordarshan.
Besides, do you think that a brand like Maggi needs Madhuri Dixit or a Preity Zinta to endorse it? Do these stars really use these products before they tell you that go for it using their face and names?
With Great Power Comes greater responsibilities
Yes, you can say that it is more of a brand's onus than a celeb who is here to make money and have limited shelf life that vary from Friday to Friday. If box office success was not the criteria than actresses like Tabu or Sonali Bendre should be face of certain big league cosmetic companies than Shraddha Kapoor [post Aashiqui 2] or other actress are. But beauty is not criteria, beautiful work is nether, success is. And how success can be minted for money, learn it via celeb endorsements.
Money truly makes the mare go hence, you may very conveniently find celebs selling Dish washing bar to Contaminated Cola to eCommerce websites [selling counterfeit goods] to achaar, aam, papad whatever you could name it in most boring layouts, with lazy storyboards which revels in fact "aha, who cares what the content is, when the intent is to sell inferior products via celebs who will sell anything for money.
So the girl who was an aspiring model of past, is an aspiring actress of today. Cause she knows that once she clicks as an actress, she will have brands making a beeline at her, eager to sign her for crores and endorse all that brands that a professional model with beautiful looks may struggle to lay her hands on. Celeb my friend. Celeb sells.
Ganges water flowing in, flowing in...lets wash hands My Fair Lad[y]
so in the age of google and technology intervention, is it really unrealistic or too much of an expectation to expect the celebs whom the country loves so much, even to the extent that they make temples in their name-business in their name-including naming their children in their name, to be so insensitive towards the public they love? Shouldn't there be some, some respect for self integrity? A little product research does no harm especially when you are researching all the Hollywood titles, dialogues, styles for your "inspired" films that does nothing but shows you a bikni clad women, happily gyrating your assets on big screen to lure audience in theater and then making hue and cry in name of "woman empowerment and objectification of woman". Yes I wrote woman and not women as as like a lot of my readers, am not sure how many women do they empower with their stunts other than that one woman, they themselves. Otherwise, why would you think Vogue would hire a certain Ms Padukone to unleash their "women empowerment" video and not Kiran Bedi?
Brand ambassadors, take a cue. If not for humanity in general, do it at least for your own good tat is bigger than few nickles in Swiss account or holiday at exotic destination in your own Yachts. You are not money making machines but human beings who need to understand the influence you exert on your fan base. Your fans are not fools. Public is watching you at large. We do not consider a man macho who cheats on his wife and mother of his kids with younger actresses nor do we consider you "fair" when the power brushed you, make a pose on national TV to endorse the conundrum relating success to skin fairness, making human beings looks like walls with shade cards. Do not be victim of lazy advertising and mindless brands that use you as mere decoy to en-cash your box office success while throwing you in bad light.
And fans stop defending your erring celebs just cause they play God, heroes, Divas in films. If a person ostracized by his/her dark skin and commits suicide, would you be able to convince their parents that one should be smart enough to not get influences even when Government of India has legalized "influence marketing"?
Like I said, if you cannot do it for austerity, do for your own brand building. For times are changing. You need to change too. Be a brand but do not be brand Bimbo.
Coming back to Maggi, Ah! Maggi you broke my heart [Coming soon]
A big star cast, an International cruise, and even bigger production house and a story that has been told many a times hitherto with almost forgettable songs but yes good screenplay and dialogues is what comprises of Zoya Akhtar's ambitious project- Dil Dhakadne Do.
Is it all about the film? Well there is more. There are actors and some superlative performances. There is "real life ex lovers-paired against each other again" on screen and same old [read ghissi pitti] story of "rich dad forcing poor son in to a marriage of convenience and commerce. But is that all? Well no, read more to know more.
Zoya's DDD or D3 is set against the backdrop of a beautiful sea cruise in International waters with drool worthy locales including Greece and Istanbul, and the roads were Zoya's Characters - Farah and Kabir, goes racing, takes you heart away and you too want to take your bike and ride away. Holla there's more, lets see one by one.
The Story: D3 is a story of a Punjabi upper class family that is shown to be dysfunctional, though to me, it sounded perfectly normal like usual families unlike the ones from Karan Johar's Films [3KG families] This is the story of " how Ayesha and Kabir" from Ayka finds their voice against their scheming parents and pukes it too.
Dil Dhadakane Do is the story Kamal Mehra [Anil Kapoor], his wife Neelu [Shefali Chayya] and their children Ayesha and Kabir played by Priyanka Chopra and Ranveer singh respectively.
Story begins when Mehra's plan to celebrate their Wedding Anniversary Via a 10 days cruise with Friends, family and Probable "49% investor via a family collaboration" business tycoon, who coincidentally has loads of money than anyone, yet were not finding a suitor for their lovely daughter who was ditched by her fiancee for a hippy gal. Yippee, oops yikes. And off course there is a lovely pooch [voice over by Aamir Khan] who looks most cute after scheming yet sober Mrs Mehra and her son, who in spite of their conniving behavior, successfully takes a lot of sympathy. What you said -how about the adorable Farhan Akhtar? Well, he reduces to a mere stereotyped cameo [still better than the "why of all people him" Rahul Bose who was a perfect cast for his role and perfect spoiler of a probable eye candy in the D3 store] decipher yourself.
So as stereotype as it gets, Mehra's business is in doldrums and by hook or crook, he needs to book his prodigal son [against a bribe of plane] with the cute looking daughter- Noorie [So well played by Ridhima] to get the business going]. If you wonder how about bringing their daughter, who started and running a business, successfully on her own, aboard and seeing if things could be worked otherwise. But no, they are busy propagating "log kya kahenge" to their only daughter who wants to divorce her eccentric husband and her loud mouth "forever unwell with diseases you name it"Mother -in-law played by a graceful-onscreen Zareena Wahab. Why I said Wahab and not Panscholi, is no-brainer. The lady is much better and capable than that surname that reminds me of song from Subhash Ghai's movie "Pan-Choli ke peeche kya hai". No drifts please, we are on sea.
A totally Contrast to their parents, Kabir and Priyanka are free spirited individuals, who when not being victim of their parents' bad relationship, are battling through their own relationships [ with their spouses off course] So the movie is all about messed-up relationships and how you should love your family. Even if that meant risking everyone's life and security and laws, just cause you saw "Life of Pie" and were so heavily influenced by it that you did not have lion, you took your pooch on life boat to rescue your son in vast sea to reunite him with his girl friend who is more popular for her "duck" acts than acting. Zindagi na Milegi Dobara. Sarcasm Alert!
Indian Titanic where you wanted the lead actors to sink without a trace
The movie quite unleashes the need of having our own version of Desi Titanic, with the legendary song- My heart will go on, loosely inspiring the movie title- Dil Dhadakne Do [Let the Heart Beat]. It has Aamir Khan, even though as voice-over of Dog [SRK you took note?], so film is ought to be original.
Aww I don't want to give away the story as I feel that movie is definitely a good watch for at least once or twice [suit yourself], primarily cause of some lead and some not so lead eye-candy [yeah] of performances.
Performances: Anil Kapoor and Shefali played their role to the hilt and were so well fitted in the characters of Neelu and Kamal that you may not actually hate them but will thank them for making the movie, story and direction worth watching. 5 stars to their performances
Well I won't call them greedy or selfish but highly entertaining.
Contrary to public opinion, I thoroughly liked Ranveer Singh in this movie. He did full justice to his character and looked absolute fab [unlike his off screen jimmy choo and mooch avatars]. He did what he was expected to do, looked good and appeared what he appears to be. Priyanka Chopra too looked good in quite a many frames and had an author backed role wherein she play a woman who is uber cool, stylist and successful businesswoman but a timid and intimidated daughter, and wife. Adarsh bhartiya Naari- kaha milti hai aajkal [ideal Indian woman, where do you find these days?].
There is nothing much to write about Anushka Sharma here. She did what she does best- look good [unless you don't see her sea creature lips], throws attitude, wear skimpy cloths and all the works. There is no depth in her character, not it was required. lesser the screen time, better. Nevertheless, her character could be named as catalyst in movie as Farah Ali plays the one who drive Kabir towards following his own dreams in straight forward manner when she herself tricks her crew to meet the guest out of rule and still gets fired.
There are other actors like Parmeet Sethi, Manoj Pahwa and Ridhima who did a good job cheering up the cliches in the movie. Rahul Bose looks like the stale idli trying to be a suave and up market Pizza, fails to impress or win eye-time ;) May be he was a perfect cast for the role he played and good for him that need not have to act but play natural self. Supporting ladies Zareena Wahab and Divya Seth did their roles well.
The climax is little dampener and is little flawed but hey when do we see logic in Indian MOvies and neither did szunny boy who didn't stepped down on the boat to rescue the herculean family that rode life boat on Mediterranean sea. Overall, the movie is well paced and worth a dekko.
You would enjoy the movie unless you ignore bad nose and lips jobs of the lead actresses, which unfortunately you cannot ignore. So be prepared and ogle at refreshingly pretty Ridhima [Noorie] who does a lovable of Twice Bitten-Once sighed Girl at climax. And yes, if were looking for a bit of message- do watch out the monologues of Pluto Mehra