Indian Cinema…riding a change of sensibilities? (A slice from the cinema pie by Sherly Mathew, Strategic Planner, L&K Mumbai)


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As young pseudo intellectuals waiting to join an advertising institute, we arrived with a certain aura around us. Living up to the stereotype – a weird dressing sense, self-created jargons, anthems of a different kind (read GMD and Sutta), gyan -  lots of gyan  and of course love for music and movies. And this is where we also took a good hard look at cinema.

Ah! but here comes the disclaimer (I know it should logically come in the beginning but then, logic main woh magic kahan)

I am no cinema expert with intelligent sounding views. I was just fortunate to be taught by a brilliant professor who asked us to explore World cinema while appreciating Indian cinema.  So what follows is my understanding/observation of what’s new and refreshing to see and be…
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When Mona became the darling & (DK) Bose meant more than speakers!


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It surely has been a sore point or a happy one as the case may be, for many who woke up one morning and heard their name on many others lips. No, it wasn’t as if they were the new Cleopatra or Adonis of the modern world. It was just that some advertiser or scriptwriter took fancy to celebrating or ripping a name apart. Of course we laughed at some. At some others, we just smiled and looked for connections. JLT. I for one have two dear friends with names Chandni & Sheela, and I haven’t stopped ribbing them ever since.

The ones who got their bristles up were always those, whose names were treated contemptuously. I too sometimes dread it when a namesake pops up somewhere with dubious credentials. So I fully understand…
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When bikini babes became the face of contemporary India


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What inspires this post is a back to back run of two films. One from the 1970s and another from 2008. Glad that I had the sensibility to enjoy both & be non-judgmental. However, other than the storyline, settings, benchmarks of affluence, contextual happenings etc…my curious mind picked up a dramatic shift in vastra (apparel) worn and the personality thereof. It reminded me of how comfortably we as Indians, have settled to a new code of style in our grooming, albeit at a price. Price of shedding Indian and donning Western as our drape of beauty.

Let’s imagine the two time zones separated by economic, social, cultural realities. In both these zones, are two personalities of women that have flourished. One is a ‘Seductress/Apsara’ and the other is a ‘Poised Beauty/Goddess’. They both exist…
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Aren’t we all closet racists?


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Let’s not kid ourselves. Stereotypes abound. The oldest I can remember is the Unofficial Polish Joke Book & of course scores of jokes featuring Santa & Banta, a certain Pestonjee and even recently Saif’s Gujarati parents in Kal ho Na Ho. Accents, color of skin, style of dressing, texture of hair, even type of cuisine chosen often, is a great way of decoding the land, region and state of origin. It’s possibly OK till there, if we stereotype the so called obvious and still greet warmly. It’s when we curl up our noses or then make disparaging comments thereon or then change our behavior, is where the problem arises.

Advertising has of course had no such boundaries and in the name of creative license and humor the stereotypes sail through us everyday. I’ll have…
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Do we need a celestial architect to make 21st century Brand India truly Global?


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I recently read this and it got me thinking: ‘The 21st century will not be dominated by America or China, Brazil or India, but by the city’, said a report released by Foreign Policy magazine in collaboration with global management consulting firm AT Kearney and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

It went on to say, that even as five of the world’s 10 most global cities are in Asia and the Pacific — Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, Sydney, and Seoul — not a single Indian city figures among the top 40 cities of the world. Among India’s metros, New Delhi is ranked at 45, Mumbai at 46 and Kolkata at 63, out of the 65 cities surveyed. India’s IT capital Bengaluru is ranked 58. In terms of GDP, Mumbai ranks 25th & Delhi…
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Will Indian women ever renounce their kitchen duties!!? Myth of Convenience & Myth Breakers


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I was watching Nigella Bites and was tempted to write this post. The joy & passion (and tons of sinful ingredients) that she uses to create any bite, virtually erases the very thought of taking short cuts while cooking. But the reality is that I don’t host any cookery shows & I wish every day had 48 hours. So shouldn’t ‘foods that ease the cooking time’ help??

In the garb of convenience, a slew of products have been launched in India over the years to simplify the woman’s life. From ready made atta (flour) to ready-to-eat. But a walk down the shopping aisle & a look at shelf movements, clearly indicates that every wife and mother is quick to separate the concept of CONVENIENCE from OVERSIMPLIFICATION.

When there are conversations about partnership with nurturers…
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Paris, je t’aime ~ With Brand Paris you can’t help but fall in love


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The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means and hold it fixed so that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it, it moves again since it is life  ~ William Faulkner (American Novelist & Short Story Writer, 1897-1962)

That would be the beginning of an ode to a sensorially rich city that you never tire of, however often you stop by. So who cares whether the French can speak English!!? Paris implores any visitor to learn just that little bit of its lilting language, so that you blend in. It’s truly like a lover, who can mould you and make you a slave to her passion and the headiness of a good life. It wasn’t my first visit and it’s not the raving…
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Monday Bloody Monday & more


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As I start to write this post at sundown on a wet Sunday, I can’t help but wonder how specific ‘days of the week’ have overtaken the lives of many. Song writers, an entire base of working populi, sports channels and the rest. Isn’t it interesting how we sync the waxing and waning of our moods across the week, to our work-life schedules! And it pretty much is reflected in the relationship we have, with a specific day in the week. Honestly, no other day evokes the elation of a Friday or the impending doom of a Monday. Makes for good brand ideas, both product and advertising. And makes for some memorable songs too.

Lets start with the most recent advertisement for ESPN. It makes the beginning of the week, Monday, just a little…
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What’s the brouhaha on fairness creams for men? Is it just a gender bias?


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There was some furor recently about a facebook application by Vaseline Fairness Cream for Men. The application enables users to ‘digitally whiten their profile pics’ and ‘remove dark spots’. Facebook users can make their skin tone a few shades lighter so that they can preview their fairer look. Is it a ‘noise creation’ gimmick or a real unrest? One can’t say. But if it’s the latter I find it extremely amusing.

Fairness Creams (Rs.1700 cr market & growing at 14%. Source: ITC Portal) from the Vicco Turmeric days, have been projecting the concept of light skin as extremely appetizing. I must laud Vicco, as they have insightfully presented the brand as a must, in the most relevant situation. The wedding. In the product evolution cycle another more scientifically presented brand, Fair & Lovely, has…
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Virtual Suicide & the Case of finding release


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A ‘TIME’ article (Jan ’10) read, “….Now you can scrub yourself from the Internet with Web 2.0 Suicide Machine, a nifty service that purges your online presence from these all-consuming social networks. Since its Dec. 19 launch, Suicide Machine has assisted more than 1,000 virtual deaths, severing more than 80,500 friendships on Facebook and removing some 276,000 tweets from Twitter.” Wow! Wish the concept of erasure of things that are despicable, unpalatable, hurtful etc, could be done away just as easily in the real world too. In fact I saw a small peek of this in a not so recent Hindi film titled ‘Jab We Met’. The protagonist Geet (Kareena Kapoor) vented out her anger against her ex-boyfriend who had dumped her on the telephone. Using expletives, flushing his picture down the drain etc. A…
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