Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Not so sublime

A subliminal message, says Wikipedia, is a signal or message embedded in another object, designed to pass below the normal limits of perception. These messages are indiscernible by the conscious mind, but allegedly affect the subconscious or deeper mind. Subliminal techniques have occasionally been used in advertising and propaganda; the purpose, effectiveness and frequency of such techniques is debated.

Shah Rukh Khan at Johannesburg yesterday, sporting a T-shirt with the words, “Om Shanti Om” tried his version of subliminal advertising for his forthcoming film, except that it turned out to be quite a blatant attempt to be seen among the victors and the national flags and gain unjustifiable publicity. Has this celluloid creature been elevated to the status of India’s permanent icon and flag bearer? Who gave him the right to walk coolly into the ground, as the players were on their victory laps? What were the security guards doing?

Sharad Pawar, ever the shrewd politician, grabbed the opportunity to position himself as a visible and integral part of the Indian victory. To me, nothing caused more annoyance than to see this guy’s mug subliminally planted along with that of the rejoicing players in the group photograph. There he is, right in the middle, grinning like a Cheshire cat, as if he had personally bowled the Pakistani team out. (Meanwhile in Cheshire, a cat was spotted grinning like Sharad Pawar. But, that’s another blog post). When we were knocked out in the World Cup earlier this year, this guy should have been made to stand with the downcast, distraught players. Then, the two photos could have been juxtaposed, to give us a balanced view. Ha, we will never see the other photograph.

So, in a few days from now, when you find yourself being pulled by a strange force to join the queue at the theatre to buy tickets for “Om Shanti Om” or, if in a few months, you find yourself at the voting booth, mysteriously casting your vote for Sharad Pawar, remember that you are a victim of subliminal advertising.

Evidence is already pouring in that the trick has worked. A Sify report here says that ‘the surprise attendance of actor Shah Rukh Khan in the stands and the numerous 'Chak De! India' being waved with gay abandon spurred India to victory in the inaugural Twenty20 World Championship at the Wanderers’.

Update 29/09/07 : Duirng the victory march to the Wankhede Stadium, when the BCCI sycophants asked him to travel in the same bus that the cricketers were in, Sharad Pawar refused and said, "let the boys have their fun". What magnanimity !
Update 24/11/07 : I saw a news item that said that BCCI had objected to Shah Rukh's constant presence in cricket matches and gaining publicity for his film. Shah Rukh, in turn, has replied that his presence helps Indo-Pak ties. The audacity.


Karthik Sriram said...

SRK being there was so opportunistic - if Pakistan had won, he would have gone shook hands with them and would have become the gentleman Indian or some such bullcrap.....


Kiran said...

And what was SRK wearin??? Velvet?? Eeeksss!! And if you found yourself voting for the biggest sulking commentator in T20, then probably you would vote for Sunil Gavaskar...what with his 'Both teams deserved to win' line - his ode to the absence of Tendulkar's presence in the team's historical win (more in my latest post!)!! - Subliminal!

Raj said...

karthik, at least the advertisers and sponsors are paying money for the visibility. This guy is getting it free.

kiran, Gavaskar doesn't say what he wants to say; he says what he thinks he ought to say.