I have mixed feelings about them.

I consider them an irritant when they interrupt a nice movie or show I am watching on telly. And then there are some, which I prefer over the actual show. But in either case, they get me thinking. No denying the fact that I have always had a fascination for the copywriting business. Always wondered how ads are created – Where does the germ of the idea come from (it is a sudden burst of inspirtation, brainstorming, or a dedicated group sitting down in a conf room and working on it?), how is it developed, how is it translated on the screen, what makes some instantly likeable and some others loathsome, do celebrities endorsing a brand have a say in making of the ads… I can go on and on. If I had a chance to choose any other job, I’d probably choose ad making (how successful I’d be in it is another matter altogether)

So here I write out my ad list – the good ones & the bad ones. Strictly including only whatever is being aired currently.

First, the Yucky ones:

1. The Shah Rukh Khan one, advertising fairness creams. At least, celebrities should stop endorsing fairness (and creams for fairness) Also add the OTT Hyundai ad. This inspite of my not being a SRK-hater.

2. The Salman Khan ad with some Chinese(?) girls asking about some extra fittings (or whatever) on cows! Gosh, I thought it was awful.

3. Amul Macho. For torturing the primates, and us.

4. A random boy walks up to a random girl on the road, and not only demands a bite of her chocolate, but also decides he is going to drop her home. Sorry, don’t know about that girl, I’d FREAK OUT if I were to meet such a stranger on the road!

5. The Kotak Mahindra Bank ad, where a man follows his pretty wife and suspects her when she is found talking to an attractive man. Come on, any woman interacting with a man other than her husband is worth suspecting? Not sure what they were trying to convey.

6. The Reliagare Insurance Ad. True, death can strike anytime, but I thought the ad smacks of insensitivity when talking about that.

The Nice ones:

1. Aamir’s “athithi devo bhava” Nothwithstanding the frequency of the ad and Aamir overdose on TV nowadays, I think the series is quite nicely done and timely, what with the CWG round the corner. We Indians sure need some lessons in manners.

2. The Kareena ad for Vivid laptop. Not a big fan of hers and nothing spectacular about the ad, but love her attitude and gait in it. And not to forget the groovy music. This one hits the target well.

3. The Kajol ad for Alpenliebe. Again, nothing amazing, but effervescent Kajol and her monkey-man master make it work for me.

4. Saffola – where a man offers his son a “crocodile ride” as wife watches on. Nicely conceptualized. Manages to get its message across humorously.

A side note – For some reason, I never particularly took a liking to ‘zoozoos’. Me thinks they were ok, but highly overrated.


A novice question

I am interested in politics- not joining, of course,  but following – to some extent, that is.

Have a fair idea of ministries and ministers, and have indulged in some ‘Basic’ level of lunchroom discussions around politics with colleagues. But that is about all. 

Here is a ‘Beginner Level’ question on the working of our Parliament – Since our PM is not an MP (Lok Sabha) does he ever come to the House and indulge in debates. I am assuming he should be. So can a non-MP enter the House?

How to watch a movie

What’s the big deal about watching a movie.

That is what I thought till I came across a bunch of movie buffs and got the privilege of watching ‘Sholay’ with them.

This happened around seven-eight years ago, when I was working in Singapore. Our boss had arranged for a dinner party for the team. The boss was Indian and so were all the invitees. And the film chosen for post-dinner viewing was… Sholay!

 I knew of Sholay’s immense popularity and cult status. But to actually witness it in person for the first time was something else. Coming from a family where watching a movie is considered equivalent to wasting time, there was no way I could have known.

So when we all sat down to watch the DVD on boss’ big flat screen late night, I was probably the only one feeling sleepy.  The moment we settled down, there was pin drop silence in the room. People were waiting in quiet anticipation, for the drama to unfold.

And then when it did, boy, it was some hungama. There was constant clapping interspersed with uproarious laughs – when Asrani appeared, when Amitabh teased Hema Malini, when Dharemendra mouthed his legendary ‘chakki peessing’ dialogue. And collective sighs – when Sanjeev Kumar’s family gets wiped out and other such moments. Not to forget the awe evoked by Gabbar and his histrionics.

 That was not all. The logic behind the screenplay was thoroughly studied.

“Not one scene is unnecessary in the movie. Each one is tied to the others and see how one situation leads to another,” explained a colleague and went on to ‘dissect’ the Surma Bhopali scene.

I had really begun to see now, a new type of movie experience – noisy, expressive and one where audience becomes a part of the setting!

So my tip for an enjoyable 3- hour in front of big or small screen –choose a great movie but don’t forget to have some great company!