Since we’re on the topic of TV, I thought I’d train my crib-gun on Indian advertisements.
For one thing, some of them are brain numbingly stupid. (“Do you accept cards?’ croons a glamorous yet wrinkled cougar-type woman. “Only if it says… ‘I love you’.” Whispers back her newly-attentive-because-she-uses-anti-wrinkle-cream husband.)
They are sometimes also so wildly irresponsible it’s scary. I don’t know about you but I find all these skin-lightening ‘remedies’ very sinister.
Though we’ve had this colonial hang-over forever, I think this whole ‘look like a white person’ thing has started to become so pervasive that people don’t see it for what it is anymore. Along with our dyed blonde hair and blue contacts, we now want to be whiter in a month’s time so we’ll get the job/the husband we need. And I say ‘whiter’ and not fairer because of this scintillating little slogan for ‘Snake Oils R Us’( Contrary to what you’re thinking, I really have forgotten the name and not chickening out of a potential legal battle in the commodities court.):
“Forget fairness, join the whitening revolution!”
Excuse me? Whitening revolution??? Are these people serious? That slogan is so beyond appalling it’s almost like a spoof fairness commercial. I bet all our Indian freedom fighters are rolling over in their graves or looking down from heaven, and screaming, “ Are you kidding us? We chase out all the white people only for home-grown ones to spring up in their place? We want our freaking lives back!”
I used to like to think that there was a certain unsavory reputation attached to these Fair and Lovely products and that self-respecting celebrities would never endorse them. But now, needing to be fair is so part of who we are that superstars like The Shah Rukh Khan and Hema Malini’s daughter (neither of whom are particularly fair which of course has NOTHING to do with what I’m saying…just an observation!) feel no compunction in pocketing a cool crore to be in these ads. (Indian celebs would probably sell their own grannies to earn a quick buck, I have it from an inside source that Amitabh Bacchan has already sold one Grand-uncle.)
So every five minutes or so whichever channel we turn to drills into our heads that once we become fair and handsome/lovely, life will be just - Vunderful! Vee vill find lou and hau much better jobs. (Seriously if you want so bad to be ‘vite’ then atleast get the accent right.)
I think the state of Indian advertising is best summed up with another brilliant line from an ad (rumour has it that Einstein wrote the script for this one before he died). A bald, short, fat bloke says to this muscular chap on a bike “Do you think you can do it?” And he replies in a cool, off-hand manner “Thinking is SUCH a waste of time!” before swinging his leg over his bike a trifle awkwardly and riding off.
I think the Indian Advertising fraternity should actually make that the first line of their official anthem, sung at their monthly “We’re Criminally Stupid” association meetings.