Total Pageviews

January 19, 2014

Hindi films and songs which courted controversy

Many of the Hindi films and sings have courted controversy and have drawn flak from various sessions of the society. Given below is a listing of a few films that have been at the center of these storms. 

Vishwaroopam: Kamal Haasan starrer Vishwaroopam faced trouble when a ban was demanded by Tamil Nadu and Muslim groups for hurting religious sentiments. Apparently, theatre owners where asked not to screen the movie. However, the movie was screened everywhere except Tamil Nadu.

Khuddar: Karisma Kapoor dressed in a little red number, singing 'sexy sexy mujhe log bolein' was little too much for the Indian sensuality! After the song became a hit, the controversial word 'sexy' was changed to 'baby'.

Aaja Nachle: The title song of Madhuri Dixit's comeback film saw itself courting controversy as some Dalit groups objected to the use of the word mochi (cobbler). Some states banned the film before the producers gave a written apology and removed the line from the song.

Meenaxi: The song ‘Noor-Un-Ala’ from MF Husain's movie got into trouble with some of its lyrics as some Muslim organizations objected to them being lifted straight from the Koran. An enraged Husain took the movie off from theatres following the protests.

Kaminey: The word 'Teli' from this song of Vishal Bhardwaj's Kaminay was beeped out after the Teli Samaj objected to its use.

Khalnayak: 'Choli ke peeche' song from the movie, which clearly say, 'what's behind the blouse?' became a rage with the audience, even as people protested that the lyrics were obscene.

Dabangg: The controversy over the 'Zandu Balm' song in the film Dabangg snowballed into a huge controversy between the ointment company and the film producer.   Zandu Balm was used in the song Munni Badnaam Hui” and finally both the parties rapproched out in public glare.

Dabangg – II: In the aftermath of the horrific gang-rape of a 23-year-old student in Delhi, and the many more rapes and sexual assaults reported thereafter, the National Commission for Women has sent a notice to producer and director Arbaaz Khan for the offensive lyrics (e.g. ‘Laundiya Patayenge Missed Call Se’) in the item song.

Chakravyuh: Tata and Birla sent legal notices to director Prakash Jha stating that the use of the companies name in the song "Mehngai" hurt their reputation. The Supreme Court of India ruled that the lyrics remain intact but the filmmakers carry a disclaimer in the audio and video versions of the song that it didn't intend to hurt any name or brand.

OMG! (Oh My God): Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS), Vishwa Hindu Parishad were some of the many Hindu groups seething with the film's ridicule of the religion's deities and its scathing attack on age-old rituals and beliefs. The film was released uncut and was one of the biggest hits of 2012.

Kamaal Dhamaal Malaamal: Catholic groups in Mumbai submitted a memorandum to the CBFC complaining against the depiction of the community and the clergy in bad light, the producers deleted objectionable scenes including one which showed a priest dancing with a rosary and a garland of lottery tickets around his neck.

Son of Sardaar: Ajay Devgun removed objectionable material after organizations such as Sikh Anti-Defamation League were unhappy that the film had dialogues which hurt the community's sentiments.

Student of the Year: An FIR was filed by an NGO in Indore against producers - Karan Johar's Dharma Productions and Shah Rukh and Gauri Khan's Red Chillies Entertainment in objection to the song "Radha teri Chunni" in which the mythological character was described as "sexy". BJP politician Sushma Swaraj and HJS also were part of the disgruntled lot. The song wasn't excluded from the film.

January 15, 2014

Iconic and Innovative advertising campaign - An IDEA can change your Life!

Indian Telecom industry is one of the most vibrant, dynamic and market driven sectors on the world. Thus it is not surprising that Indian Telecom especially Indian Mobile handset sector and telecom operators have contributed some of the most iconic and path breaking advertising campaigns that the world has witnessed. Indian Telecom industry has given birth to the now world  famous pug campaign of Hutch – Vodafone (where ever you go out network follows) and Vodafone Zoo Zoos.

Equally path breaking and iconic are the advertisements done for Idea cellular –by Lintas Lowe. An IDEA can change your Life. The series of advertisements mostly done by Abhishek Bacchan have become famous and attained cult image status.

We will be examining 15 of the IDEA cellular advertisements in detail. We will examine the issue/s  tackled by each advertisement
 IDEA – Sarpanch: The first of the advertisements and the one that spawned the entire series. The advertisement is about a village that is riddled with casteism and warring factions who are at each other’s castes. The Sarpanch rules that no longer would anybody be called by their caste. Rather they would be known only by their mobile numbers. This ensures equality in the village. Would people like to be known by their mobile numbers? I don’t think so – people love their names and their individuality. But a great creative!
 IDEA telephone exchange – (Mother and son): This advertisements starts off with a mother and her son having differences of opinion. The lady’s husband cleverly exchanges their similar looking phones for a day. At the end of the day both mother and her son realize that the other point of view and become compassionate.
 IDEA telephone exchange – (husband and wife): This advertisement starts off with husband and wife having differences of opinion. Their son cleverly exchanges their similar looking phones for a day. At the end of the day both husband and wife realize that the other person’s job is not easy and become compassionate.
 IDEA Language barrier:  so how do people from different languages communicate with each other? The advertisement opens with a set of friends who are posted in various parts of India. And adding salt to the wound is that they do not know the local language. The problem is solved by helping each other, for e.g. a Bengali in Kerala helps a Keralite posted Kolkata and gets help from the Malayali friend to get over a problem that she faces in Kerala. And this brilliant idea is given by a deaf and dumb attender in a local dabba. A great concept. Communication has no language barriers.
 IDEAEducation for all: Tackles the issue of educating the poorest of the poor in India. Even though the solutions are too pat and cinematic they touch a cord and are definitely worth a viewing.  
 IDEA – Public service advertisement: Talks about driving and being safe. The advertisement urges people not to talk on mobile while driving. Relevant even today.  It comes as a wakeup call to the generation of mobile phone users who are engrossed in their music, radio, texting or talking. All these are very deadly and could cause serious consequences.    
 IDEA – Raksha Bandan: A smart alerky advertisement. It shows how a young girl gets rid of her stalkers by cleverly using the Indian festival of Raksha Bandan to her advantage
 IDEA - over population: IDEA came out with thought provoking way of reducing population in India. The solution IDEA 3 G.  
 IDEA – Save paper: One of the advertisements that touched on the vital issue of deforestation and losing forest cover. Idea shows innovative methods of reducing usage of paper and thus saving paper and trees.  
 IDEA – Holi:  A clever advertisement that promotes Holi as a national festival. The actual  motivation is to make non Holi playing Indians to play Holi and make more voice calls, send SMSes and MMSes and  yield more business for IDEA.
 IDEA – Diwali:  A clever advertisement that promotes Diwali as a national festival. The actual motivation is to make non Hindus embrace Diwali and make more voice calls, send SMSes and MMSes and yield more business for IDEA.
 IDEA – Number portability: A clever advertisement that drives in forcefully the concept of number portability. 
 IDEA – walk while you talk:  The series of advertisements that were very close to the advertisement agency and to IDEA. Walk while you talk. IDEA wanted to promote the idea of health consciousness. That is if you walk while you talk it would burn calories and make the users healthier and thin. But wise sense prevailed and IDEA has since dropped this tack of promoting its mobile services. Walking and talking is very dangerous as walkers who talk tend to concentrate on talking and might not be very alert to the surroundings. They could become very easy prey to thieves, stalkers and might even injure themselves. 
 IDEA – Valentine day: A heart touching advertisement of an old man who brings a rose to his (heartless) wife on Valentine ’s Day. Romance has no age – right IDEA!
IDEA – Talk for India: The advertisement that created a huge controversy. This advertisement was released on the first anniversary of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. The advertisement urges Indians to talk about an hour about the attacks on the 26/11. It touched the heart strings of the Indians. The advertisement says that on the fateful attack day entire India fell silent. But on the 1st anniversary, the advertisement urges all India to talk about the attack for an hour. IDEA promised that the income thus generated would be donated to the Indian Police force for its better safety gear.  Way to go IDEA. 

All in all a great series that very cleverly tell us that there are many ways to promote and make people buy our product or services. The longevity of the series (since discontinued) is a testimony of the creativity of the team at Lintas-Lowe.

January 13, 2014

Depiction of women in Indian advertising

Advertising is the window to the society. It is a story told in a minute. Thus it is not surprising that it reflect what the society’s prevailing views about a particular topic. Let is examine 4 popular advertisements and show you how they depict a woman in the society. 
Bajaj Motorcycle: The first advertisement shows two loving sisters fighting like dogs. They are at each other, they claw, spit fire and have murder in their eyes for the each other. One finally throws the other into the bathroom and locks the door. She takes a helmet and triumphantly leaves the house. Waiting for her is a young man on a Bajaj Motorcycle. She seats herself and is driven into the sunset. The lesson: materialism is everything in life and you can half kill your own sister for a ride on the latest motorcycle.  
CEAT Idiot series: CEAT wanted to highlight the grip of its tyres. It hit upon a funny series. Both the advertisements show women in mundane and inane activities. One of them shows two young ladies involved in shopping. The small child of one of the ladies wanders into the busy traffic. She is almost overrun by a motorcycle only to be saved by a guy with CEAT tyres. The IDIOTS (in this case the women) assail the young man about his driving skills. The voice over says “the streets are filled with idiots……” The young man is shows looking at the women with a bemused jaw  open expression.

The second one shows a lady driver jabbering away with her aunty seated in the rear seat. The driver is overly excited, can’t control herself and cant resist partaking a huge homemade laddu. In her haste to gobble down the laddu, she almost collides into a two wheeler. The two wheeler driver saves himself with a sudden break. The tyre obviously CEAT again. The women are again shown as half-witted bimbos. Is this the real depiction of women drivers or is it the manifestation of deeply rooted stereo types?  

Axe chocolate advertisement: Axe takes the cake (pun intended). The axe advertisements are excessively sexy and too overboard. They show very puny guys suddenly becoming Greek gods with a liberal dosage of axe perfume. The advertisement shows a man covering himself with the chocolate Axe. He turns himself into an axe chocolate man. He becomes an instant sensation. He is adored and women literally take parts of him. The advertisement shows the women biting off his ears, his buttocks and even one of his arms. So women only think of one think is it. Always below the belt! It is funny to a point. After that it becomes blasé. Too predictable and no longer funny. Remember there has to be something in the advertisement hat hugs your heart strings - case in point the recent ICICI Prudential’s – Per Bandhe acche hai advertisement.   

Which is the real Hustler?

Suzuki Motor Corp no idea that the name "Hustler" for its new, boxy mini-car aimed at outdoorsy Japanese customers may cause confusion among English speakers for its association with an adult magazine.

Taking words from foreign dictionaries without checking how they might be received by native speakers has produced countless products with unintentionally unsavory names.

The name Hustler was chosen by Suzuki to conjure the image of agility, as well as invite nostalgia from customers who remembered an off-road motorbike released in 1969 called the Hustler 250.

The Hustler follows a string of other Japan-made cars to confuse speakers of foreign languages, such as Daihatsu Motor Co Ltd's Naked in 2000 and Isuzu Motors Ltd's 1983 Bighorn. Similarly a car named Nova created lot of confusion in Latin American countries as Nova means no go in Spanish.

Spanish speakers were taken aback by Mazda Motor Corp's Laputa, a derogatory word for sex worker, while Mitsubishi Motors Corp sold its Pajero model as the Montero in Spanish-speaking countries as the former is slang for sexual self-pleasure.

A tubular chocolate snack called Collon and an isotonic sports drink named Pocari Sweat, for example, bear unfortunate associations with bodily functions.

While many brand names around the world don't translate across borders - the Iranian washing powder Barf, which means snow in Persian, or a Swedish chocolate bar called Plopp, are very uncomfortable names. So are names like Pantene and Puck which sound dangerously like ladies undergarments and vomit. Many companies often use foreign words for how they sound, with little regard to their original meaning.

This is partly due to foreign words having an exotic ring, much like how Chinese characters are seen by Westerners as poetic or profound choices for tattoos even if the results don't make much sense to native speakers. But many firms often fail to check if a name 'travels' because of historical reasons, marketers say.

Websites like revel in strange uses of English across Asia, including neighboring South Korea's snack maker Lotte Confectionary Co Ltd's Crunky Ball Nude.