Okay, here’s a trick question, a couple of them actually:
1. What kind of a buffoon are you, if you take 20 days off from work in the UAE, not to go to a vacation in Turkey, or to go to Pakistan to meet family, or to catch up on all the reading you have been missing out on, but to watch the latest round of India Pakistan test matches?.
2. What kind of a buffoon are you, if you do above despite the fact that you still do not know the difference between gully, silly mid-off, silly midpoint, and the rest including silly and non silly points?
Surprisingly, the answer to both the questions is the same: A silly kind.
Come Sunday, I must get up before the sun once again, drive through maddening traffic once again, and sit through an entirely boring meeting once again. The worst part is, the third and final test between Pakistan and India is scheduled to begin on Sunday, and since this one is being played in Karachi, it is widely expected that the wicket will be bowler friendly, or at least less batsman favoring, and for once there will actually be a contest rather than run fests and batting carnages. Shoaib Akhtar has been bowling brilliantly so far, and has been a treat to watch, even if his figures do not show it; and the first time around the odds will not be so heavily stacked against him, I will be sitting in a boring meeting. Irony becomes me.
While on the subject of Cricket, I do not know about the others, but despite the fact that my vacation seems to have gone waste in drawn matches, my supreme moments of frsutration, irritation and chagrin did not come while the batsmen from either side flayed the bowling attacks, and ensured a no-result in the process. Of course, I was disgusted by the pitches prepared by the home side, but my disgust at this cricketing sin pales in comparison to that which is aroused by one of the worst ever advertisements I have seen. When the same ad. runs after every over, and since there are a minimum of 80-90 overs bowled during a good day’s play, I am subjected to it close to 500 times during one test match.
The makers of these advertisements have more than a daunting task facing them. You see, it takes either a really great product, or a really great ad to ensure that the audience subjected to that ad that many times during that many days does not decide to completely boycott the product so advertised. Even a great ad. squeezed between overs 49 and 50 in a nail biter walks a very thin line, sometimes the last ball of the 49th or the first ball of the 50th is sacrificed and can ensure a longterm hatred for the product in the audience. I shifted my loyalties from one cola to another way back in 1996 for the same reason.
Given the above scenario, it is binding on the advertiser to ensure, for the betterment of his product, that the ad. required to be aired 500 times in 5 days, should be catchy, intelligent, visually pleasing, and aesthetically sound. The company making such ads ought to realize that a lot more than just their client’s product’s life cycle rides on these ads, their own reputation goes on stake. The cricketers should realize that bad ads take something away from their brilliant efforts in the field, because those ads form part of the package they serve to their audiences. Last, but not the least, the channels airing those ads should understand that such bad ads might make a quick buck for them, but in the long-run they trash their reputation as quality channels forever. Unfortunately, none of the these parties seems to have realized the commercial peril that this one ad makes them susceptible to.
Have you guessed already what ad i am talking about? Well, of course, Nabeel’s Jannat-al-Firdaus, now in the shape of a perfume. For those of you, who have not had the misfortune to see this ad even once, and allow me to admit here – I envy the lot of you, let me tell you the ‘salient features’ of this ad:
This is supposed to be a rip off of Moghal-e-Azam, that ‘epic’, that ‘classic’, and that ‘golden oldie’.
AAAAAARGGGH! When will they ever learn that there is too much bollywood around the telly audience already, and the last thing they will enjoy is a bollywood rip-off! There are those 2 gazzillion ads with the Gabbar Singhish ‘Kitne aadmi the..” routine, and another 2 gazzillion ads tailored around ‘Mona darling….very smart’ routine. I do understand that the first time around someone had decided to make an ad drawing on a ‘classic’ film, it must have come out looking quite smart. It must still have looked smart when another 43 people had done it. But topractically redefine an advertisement as a bollywood rip-off is not only insane, stupid, and totally non-creative, it is also an insult to the advertising industry.
But here comes the worst part, Moghal-e-Azam was an Urdu epic, and it became a classic as much for its dialogues and language as for its music, production and other performances. The makers of this ad seem to have overlooked this aspect. There are less than half a dozen sentences in this ad, and about as many errors in language, and to top it all “Mr. Zill-e-Subhani” gets his pronounciation of “khoob” wrong, as most hindi speaking people are wont to do. Personally, the language errors are the biggest turn-off, what is more disgusting than seeing the characters of a king and a prince getting basic Urdu wrong. But, it does not just stop there, as the prince delivers his lines, Akbar badshah sways to and fro on his feet like a pepndulum, and seems to be wondering why the Royal Boot Polisher had not polished his shoes that morning. The colors are way too pale, and the dresses look as cheap as they must have been. Shahzada Saleem holds the product being advertised, a bottle of perfume, so gingerly that one suspects he is allergic to the smell of that perfume, and is trying to maintain as much distance from it as possible.
Evidently, I hate that ad, and I hate it more each time it is aired. Cricket is a wonderful game, and its a pity there are people in the world who do not like it. One wonders, how will they ever atone for this crippling flaw in their personalities? There are others, whose interest in the game of cricket is limited to one-dayers. These people offer a variety of lame excuses in their defence, but the fact of the matter is that if life has become too fast to accomodate a test match, it is time it were slowed down, and if it were a result the game were played for, perhaps they should reduce the contest to 22 balls, one to be faced by each batsman. It is a contest of skill, and more often than not it takes five days for a drawn out contest to be brought to its logical conclusion, which by all means could a draw too. Winning is important, as is not losing, but playing the game is everything. This is my position on Test Cricket, I look forward to Test Cricket, which is why I do not move away from the telly, when I do not have to go to work, or to save the world. Since I had taken leave from the former, and have yet to begin with the latter, I was glued to the screen, and have thus seen my hatred grow at a rate Afridis and Dhonis might have found difficult to maintain in their scoring.
My vacation has been ruined not by boring, batting, test matches, but by disgusting sponsors…or sponsors with disgusting products…or at least products with disgusting ads…or at least….sigh!