A few moments of the Hartal day (18 Nov) were spent in a Park not very close to my house thanks to my friends Raju and Sendhil. The trip included visiting their homes (for the first time) through the bylanes of West Kochi refreshing some fond memories.
Sendhil engrossed in the narration of Life is Beautiful by Raju
A man who spent his life preaching frugal and self-sustained living is painted in a gaudy Golden hue. What else can be called ironical?
Another stereotypical image of India; cattle strolling in the middle of the road, the only difference here being that the one here refused to budge even as dad tried to manoeuvre my wheelchair around it in a tiny by-lane.
There is a general myth that a disabled person may have a gift that would make him/her an extraordinary being. Yes there will always be a few gifted types among the disabled as you would find in any other sphere of life; racial, economic, social etc. Sometimes, you may find a genius who is a mixture of different spheres, so, it'll be difficult to pinpoint where the spark comes from. But, when disability is one of the sphere, it is normally considered a blessing for the gifted person and even a normal person carrying a disability is easily termed Gifted.
I write ordinarily, it is an acquired skill, that too very late in life as I thought it would be the easiest thing to do with my limited mobility (and very soon realised how wrong I was). I have no romantic notions about it as such. I will trade this skill if I am given physical independence in exchange.
These thoughts came to me after watching Bereft of Colours, a short film about a blind artist who loses her vision to paint after her eyesight is restored and in the end she dramatically destroys her eyes to regain her vision.
I felt very disturbed as I mentioned earlier that I can trade anything for physical independence even though I am not really unhappy in current situation.
For his part the director can put up a defence mentioning the constraints in exploring the subject in depth for a Diploma Film. But still...
It was the most anticipated event in the Malayalam Entertainment World in the recent times, that of Manju Warrier facing the movie camera after fourteen long years and that too paired with the Big B himself for a jewellers' TV Commercial (it being just an ad film was a non-issue). The TV Channels and the media in general was flooded with the 'behind the scenes' stories of the shoot.
Kalyan Jewellers, the brand they were promoting may have got enough mileage for their budget with this pre-release publicity itself. But, the final result to put it simply is a damper, it stretches its "VISWASAM ATHALLE ELLAM" (Isn't Trust Everything) tagline a little further. In the past, we had a young woman dropping the idea of eloping with her boyfriend and returning home so as to not to breach the trust of her father. And, here we have a daughter (Manju) playing a trick of sorts to win her dad (Amitabh Bachchan) back after marrying the man of her choice.
This storyline would have worked wonders a decade or two back. Or, it would have been plausible with lesser known actors. But, in this day and age imagining Bachchan as a dad who severs ties with his daughter just because she has selected her own life partner is difficult if not impossible. Similarly, Manju, who has played a few firebrand roles in short but memorable career, risking her own life as well as her unborn child win back her father borders on being regressive.
Last Sunday (14 July), while watching the final day of the first test match of Ashes 2013 and expecting Ashton Agar to do an encore of his first innings performance. Eventually, that did not happen. But, something else caught my attention; it was Nithya Menen, she appeared in a commercial in between the overs (I'm not an avid channel-surfer and do not really get annoyed by the 'commercial breaks'). The first time I just rubbed my eyes (figuratively) and confirmed that it was her and she was appearing in an ad for Tanishq.
The most striking thing about this campaign is the fact that it takes the notion that women should dress and look sober in the workplace to the point of being unattractive head on, it underscores the fact that if you are confident about your work it does not really matter if your glamour quotient is a notch higher. This attitudinal shift may be the result of the anger, furore and debate that ensued after the unfortunate Nirbhaya Case last year.
Here we have a young girl Megha (Nithya) immersed in her work, her boss comes to check on her and says a few appreciative words before Megha's (maybe the first) big presentation. But, as a parting shot she advises Megha to remove her hanging earrings as they would distract the clients. The boss herself has dressed simply in plain blue saree and white blouse without any adornment to speak of leave any makeup. She may have thought her protege needed some understanding in workday dress code.
The masterstroke comes when Megha utters ‘Don’t worry. The presentation looks even better than me’ as a reply to her boss' questioning look as to why her advise went unheeded.
There is a marked improvement in the approach if we compare this ad with the series of ads that came initially targeting the working women:
This spot also does away with the usual format of man buying/gifting jewellery, as shown here: