A moo point, basically …

Arbit/ Random

What an Idea?

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Most advertisements these days are often fairly unrelated to the product they promote but people like anyway. The product ends up as an ‘oh what was that ad for? oh yes ___’ thing, which is quite alright I guess. But sometimes, an ad makes you think – not like introspect and all but they make you wonder as to what exactly it is trying to say, especially if there’s a social message thrown in and it is beamed all the time on all channels always.

Take the latest Idea Cellular ‘What an Idea Sirjee’ campaign going around on TV these days. Abhishek Bachchan is a father/ priest in a village who hits upon an Idea to promote primary education, which by itself is a noble cause. Very commendable, very nice indeed.

The followup to this one has a phoren-returned dude getting stunned by a Marathi village kid’s English. Very funny. After all, who doesn’t like to see smart-asses given a polite ‘up-yours’, eh? I do 🙂

And then you have an old Marathi grandpa saying grace (in English) before a spartan meal because his granddaughter now goes to school. Bravo, I say!

I probably would have left it at that had these ads not been hammered all the time (and at times in succession). The sustained exposure made me think, and making people think when they don’t want to can be quite dangerous. I wondered –

1. Is primary education about teaching English? Rather, is English proficiency a proof of literacy? Wouldn’t you be better off educating the rural kids in their native languages and leave the English for later?

2. I like to believe that I belong to a family of literates, but I never recall saying grace ever at the table. All I remember is my dad saying some mantras on certain special occasions to invoke our forefathers I think. I do recall Christians, though, thanking the Sweet Lord for putting food on their table all the time- especially in movies and soaps when they’re trying to be all happy and family-ish. I suddenly notice that Abhishek Bachchan is a church father in what is clearly a Maharashtrian landscape (a fairly improbable occurrence, btw). The mind suddenly harks back to the whole reason why Christian missionaries came to our shores hundreds of years ago. <pause> Is this ad campaign about educating the young, or is this about ‘converting’ them to the other side? Did I just type that out loud? Oh My (God)^340 million

I’m surprised that no one has noticed this yet. One might say that I’m being all Raj Thackeray-ish (or 90’s Bal Thackeray-ish) but the Marathi manoos of today has got to err on the side of caution these days. Maybe this is what is called overkill or what being cranky and nitpicky is all about – or all of the above.

NB: Given the absurdity of statements one gets to hear these days, I unfortunately find it necessary to clarify that I am actually kidding. If you can’t joke about religion, what can you joke about? Politics? Bah.

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Written by sujaybedekar

August 9, 2008 at 4:35 pm

One Response

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  1. Going through those ads I actually got the same impression you did (that and thought the idea was very impractical) and that is even from my perspective as a Christian. So I’d say it’s not so nit picky to notice those things. It probably wasn’t consciously intended by the writers of the commercials but more something coming out of subconscious preconceptions (still not a good thing).

    Tylor

    August 15, 2008 at 7:31 am


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