Monday, December 27, 2010

Breaking My Heart - One Ad at a Time

There's a reason I havent written anything in SO long-
Its December and the end of another year and what a year at that. Oh and its an end of a decade as well. Sigh. Depressing, I know, I know. I remember New Years Eve 1999 and the excitement about a new millennium! And now, ten years are done. And my life refuses to slow down. Its just as obstinate as I am apparently.

I don't remember most of my life clearly but I do know this- Every year I write/think about how time flies by and I can't believe it. How is it December already? Blah Blah. This year I'm not. I'm NOT going to say time flew by, cause I know it does. And also simply cause I really just don't want to think of the future and what it holds for me. I refuse to. And I happen to be rather distracted as well.

So this December, I'm just doing what I love- After one week of watching ads painstaking I've come up with my list of the top ten for this year-

The Cadbury Shubh Arambh ads takes top place for its sheer simplicity and the use of the quintessential Hindi movie hero dialogue-"Maa kehti hai shubh kaam karne se pehle meetha khana chahiye" in the most endearing and innocent way possible. It makes you smile.

Its not been over displayed on channels so it does retain its novelty and uniqueness even months later. I know I stop and watch. Its young, fresh and raw. They found faces that seem like you and me, just anyone. And that strikes a chord instantly.The other Shubh Aarambh one- the girl running away from home brings tears to my eyes every time I see it. I swear. Yes, I'm crazy, but it is heartwrenchingly good. And I've seen it a hundred times at least. I dunno what it is. But this campaign just tugs at the heartstrings, leaves u with a warm feeling, wanting so much more!

The other ad I never get tired of watching is the Tanishq ad. Because yes, even after a 100 years, men will NOT understand how a woman's mind works. They arent supposed to in any case. And jewelry as exquisite as that, is motivation enough of think of marriage. Truly. Again, it wasnt flashed on my tv screen every ten minutes irrespective of what show I was watching, which is why I love it.

Times of India- Aman Ki Asha- what an ad, what a cause! It brought tears to my eyes every single time I saw it, more so because I do genuinely believe that people can live happily together no matter what. And they make a reference to SRK in the ad. How could anyone NOT love this ad?

Just for how annoying it is, Bingo. And that's all I'll say on the subject. Flip it :P

Coke- The new one with Imran Khan and the shadow play is fascinating for its concepts, and reminds me of their earlier Strange Love ad. The theme, styling and feel is very similar. Plus its Imran. :) Its new, smooth and slick. Very urban. Its the beginning of a change in the way products will be advertised.

The Vodafone zoozoos came and revolutionized Indian advertising! I've never seen so much variety, so much innovation and good humour in one campaign. And I've also never heard of an ad character becoming so popular that months after these ads stopped appearing on tv, people would throng markets to buy memorabilia- t shirts, cups and what not!

Tata Sky Plus- I don't like Aamir. I think he's tooo perfect. But these ads- what sheer creativity and talent. Wow!

Idea- Every single ad of theirs makes me say what an idea sirjee! I smile, take a few moments to let the ad sink in and then just wonder where all their ideas come from. Some beautiful campaigns- the elections, education for everyone, efficiency in facilities and services, saving the trees, and language-no-bar. How do the do it? How can they possibly make so many fantastic, heartbreakingly good campaigns in ONE year? How can they be so intelligent when it comes to their ads, so Indian, so rooted and so unique?

Airtel- because SRK had to be on this list without a doubt. How long does it take to tell someone you love them? How long does it take to say you're sorry? A couple of seconds? Yes.
 
Indigo On Time and Blackberry- They're both very modern ads, specifically targeting a younger group. The Blackerry tagline- Do what you love, love what you do is pure genius, and shows the changing face of this once-upon-a-time-reserved-for-snooty-businessmen phone. The Indigo On Time Campiagn talks about their USP- something we all want to be- On Time.

So yeah. I wish I had done at least ONE of these ridiculously heartbreakingly awesome ads. Which is why, for once, I look forward to the future. Really!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Ahem.

The DogHouseDiaries- Such good stuff! And generally so bloody true :)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Why I Write

Ever saw a movie and wished you were the lead character, swooping in and saving the day? The superhero that silently and broodingly saved all of Gotham city? Have you ever wished that the show you’re watching was your life? Ever read the newspaper and wished that that person was you? Ever wanted someone’s story to be yours?

Have you ever read a book and wished you were that girl- the one who said all the right things. Ever read a recipe and wished you were the cook? (Saw a tv show and wanted donuts- yes,yes, yes)

We all wanna be someone else. Do the things they’ve done, live their lives, have their stories to tell, and be applauded for that. We’ve all at some point wanted to step into other peoples shoes- irrespective of how uncomfortable or how hot those shoes are. Be it something small and simple like- saying the right thing to someone or bringing a smile to a person’s face or even scoring a goal.

We’ve all wanted to be someone else, at some point of time.

And me, I’d like to be Anuja Chauhan.

She made the lives of a zillion girls a zillion times better by writing the wickedly funny and hugely romantic “The Zoya Factor” – All’s fair in love – and cricket! (Now being made into a movie by SRK, who is a character in TZF! Sigh!) She gave us Zoya- chubby, with short hair and lots of spunk; the girl with an attitude, who waged a war with the Indian Cricket Captain- Nikhil Khoda- over a belief in luck, which was so much entertainment. When I read that book, I thought she could never top that, it was the best thing anyone had ever written in a very long time and yet I waited patiently and prayed and hoped that her next release would hit stores in the same year.

I was wrong on both counts-

It took her 3 years to write and publish her second book, and when I saw it, as a review in the Wow Magazine, I was disappointed. I swore I wasn’t going to buy it, because it was such a waste. Fifteen minutes later I went to Landmark, quite by chance actually, and coincidentally the first book I saw happened to be on the ‘New Releases’ shelf- ‘Battle For Bittora’ I picked it up, against my will, and looked at the cover (magazines don’t do it justice) and then I knew instantaneously that I was going to buy it and I was going to treasure it. Talk about serendipity.

A day later- here I am- gushing about it. And, thanking her, on behalf of all of womankind, for giving us the incredibly sexy and sinful Zain Altaf Khan. (Hereafter referred to as ZAK) ‘Battle for Bittora’ is unputdownable, not just because the aforementioned ZAK is wickedly sexy, and her words make him come alive right before your eyes, or because she uses her words so well that ZAK turns out to be this sinful, absolutely witty and a delightfully charming man but also because the war between him and Sarojini Devi Pande, (hereafter referred to as Jinni) is so charged, so crackling with chemistry and so passionate- you can feel the electric currents between them- in their love and their hate- and all their making out sessions in between a Lok Sabha election campaign, in which they’re both standing, for an MP seat, from Bittora, against each other obviously. Hence the name ‘Battle for Bittora’.

Its’ so beautifully penned, that you can’t let go of it. Both the dialogues and the emotions aid the storyline, or the plaaan, and make this book a riveting read. Both protagonists are witty, stubborn and passionate. Jinny, is the typical girl, confused and obstinate, and in love with her childhood friend- the boy she shared her first kiss with- ZAK- who disappeared from her life, only to return 9 years later to contest an election against her.

Apart from the necessary ingredients of a regular rom-com such as a boy and a girl who are madly in love and hate each other, disapproving grandmothers, annoying friends, potential boyfriend, and a flashback to a childhood romance, BFB also has an Indian election campaign- which gives it so much more masala. Caricatures of the sleazy politician, the greedy politician, the opportunist, the loyalist, the cunning opponents, the crazy grandmother and her excellent Hinglish add so much to this book, making it engaging and sharp.

BFB- you enriched my life, truly. You made me grin, wipe a few tears away, clutch my heart and take lots of deep breaths; you made me sigh, you made me laugh like I haven’t in a long time and more than anything else, you left me with a smile, once I had turned the last page over.

Yes, it’s no ‘Gone with the Wind’, or ‘The Godfather’, or ‘Catch-22’, but ‘Battle For Bittora’ is a compelling read, a book that won’t be forgotten anytime soon. And in today’s evolving, fast paced times, it’s the kind of book that truly represents us, and our generation, and our minds.
It was the first book that I didn’t want to ever finish- simply because finishing it meant ‘the end’ of a beautiful thing, and the end of not-knowing what was yet to come in this unpredictable tale of two lovers, and a long wait of another 3 years to get a glimpse of her next offering.

And if you thought that was just it, all she’s famous for are these two novels, she is also the wit behind various ad campaigns over fourteen years, coming up with tag lines like- Yeh Dil Maange More, Oye Bubbly, Mera Number Kab Aayega, Nothing Official About It. Yeh Dil Maange More, is probably one of the earliest memories I have of taglines and my fascination with them, and also one of my most favourite ones, one that’s stuck with me over the years.

Yeah. That’s why I wish I was her.