Commercial Break

Back after a long long break. Blame it on exams. (The long break, that is, not the being back).

Coming to the point- Indian TV ads these days are filled with cute kids. Cute to the point of inducing nausea.

I Am Not A Grinch and I have nothing against cuteness per se, but in the past two or three years, ad agencies have overstepped all limits. They’re trying so hard that cuteness has mutated into a sort of fake tweeness. It shows. And it induces murderous thoughts- not in me, for I have a sunny disposition, thanks in large part to Preity Zinta- but definitely in my brother Bhavya and other hair-trigger, short-tempered, type-A control personalities. Bhavya, I should mention here, has gone over the edge, and is engaged in compiling a list of kids in ads for whom to lay ornate death-traps.

The most prominent example of smarmy little gits trying to sell us stuff these days is the kid in the “healthy AC” ad. He’s horrible. “Why take chances?” he pipes in that ingratiatingly concerned voice. The effect of the ad would be to make one rush out and buy blood pressure pills, and not ACs, but somehow advertisers don’t get it. In the face of all common sense, they seem to be convinced that this sort of soppiness is a good thing. And they persist with this tactic.

Not that other ads are any better. There’s the McDonalds ad from a couple of years ago with the whiny brats, to name an extreme example.

The whole trend of twee kids in ads, like many of our other modern ills, can be blamed on Karan Johar. It’s all his fault. He started the trend.

Yes, Karan Johar. It all started with that diabolical miasma of sickening sappiness, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, which was filled with horrible little kids acting cute. Acting cute, mind you, not being cute. Things have been going downhill since then.

It’s not really the ad agencies fault. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai was commercially succesful, and emulating it must have seemed a good idea. But then, it’s commercial success was assuredly the result of a pact with a devil.

After all, the characters in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai were some of the most repellent specimens I have ever come across. There were Shah Rukh Khan, and Salman Khan, whose faces are enough to make one throw up. There was that disgusting kid sardar, who was mentally deficient even by the standards of his species. And there was that precocious girl, who- infamy of infamies!- was named Anjali. Anjali, a name that by rights belongs only to the sweet mechanic in Jo Jeeta Wahi Sikandar.

But despite all that, these stereotypes are being perpetrated. And there’s no escaping them if you have TV. You’ll be forced to suffer through kids selling you ACs, kids selling you cold drinks, whether fizzy or not, and kids selling you all other sorts of goods and services. And all of them condescending to be cute.

So, if you too are ready to explode and grab a gun, do so by all means, but don’t go after the kids. They’re just the symptoms. If you’re planning to mow down someone, go for Karan Johar. It’s all his fault.

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