Saturday, April 29, 2006

Exchange4Media writes (or, should I say, the Coke PR folks write): "In the latest ad, Khan makes a clever and funny appearance as a tourist who not only underlines the message of “How food tastes best when had with Coca-Cola”, but also reinforces the entire concept of Thanda being synonymous with a bottle of Coca-Cola."

I may agree with the latter -- yes, it's abundantly clear that they're showing Coke and thanda as synonymous.

But the thing is? Ad's not clever. Not funny. It's...ummm...Aamir Khan explaining to befuddled waiters, shocked that the apparent Japanese tourist can speak Hindi, that he's been stung by bees. Really, more than interesting, I might say it's borderline racist (re: my previous post on epithets for the other peoples of Asia).

Being as I am not fluent in Hindi and had only my beloved S to explain, I could be off base. But watching the commercial makes me deeply, deeply uncomfortable.

Again: I'm not all for a world where we're calling midgets "vertically challenged" and I'm crying "mini-rape" when a man stares at my ass, but from a strictly utilitarian point of view, understanding that India wants to position itself as a world power...will a Japanese businessman, perhaps relaxing and watching Zee Cafe after a long day at the office, who does not speak Hindi, feel offended by this depiction? With the clangy gongs ("bong, bong, bongthis is the universal soundtrack of the Orientbong, bong, bong") and the squinted eyes and the camera slung around his neck? I'm thinking he might.


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