Tuesday, November 6, 2007

'Vest'ed Interest

If someone asked you, “What’s common between Sunny Deol, Salman Khan, Govinda, Saif Ali Khan, Sanjay Dutt, Suniel Shetty and Hrithik Roshan?”, I bet you would NEVER say ‘chuddi-banian ads’!

Now that’s a trend which escaped your roving eye isn’t it: The hosiery industry’s celebrity endorsement fixation.

The earliest recollection that I have of a celebrity in a chuddi ad is Dalip Tahil (VIP underwear). The ad featured a rather hirsute Dalip Tahil leaping off the balcony to karate chop an impudent rowdy who was trying to act smart with the leading lady (all this happened in a dream sequence of the leading lady, by the way).

The underwear in question was seen flashing from beneath the folds of his dressing gown as he leapt off the balcony (it was a bottom up shot and you really wanted to pluck your eyes out with a stick after seeing it), and in the final shot, where he brazenly displays his Rin-white underwear by guiding his gown nonchalantly away as he strikes a one-hand-on-own-hip-and-one-hand-around-lady-waist pose. I forget the punch line, but it was quite cheesy ~prize to anyone who remembers~.

The first serious threat to VIP’s undisputed mind leadership came with Rupa underwear. Rupa started roping in more main stream celebrities (sorry Mr Tahil, but you know what I mean) for their advertising. Govinda, Sanjay Dutt, and now Hrithik are all Rupa brand ambassadors.

Lux Undergarmets burst onto the scene around the early nineties and followed the same industry trend. Lux has been banking on ‘macho men’ Sunny Paaji and Anna Shetty to peddle their products. Ofcourse their iconic “Yeh andar ki baat hai” line has been the source of much mirth and double-entendres for some years now.

Most of Lux advertising shows the model doing great acts of courage and heroism in the baniyan (I guess it is assumed he is wearing Lux chuddi also).

Sample this from Lux: Anna in action. Notice the humiliating call to action from women who are watching a free style boxing match ~where are these women in real life!!??~ to the ‘cool’ comeback of Anna who, after beating the living daylights out of the baddie, puts the impudent, mocking girls in place with a “Yeh andar ki baat hai” line. Fascinating stuff…

Rupa too comes up with interesting stuff, all capped off with their long running “yeh araam ka mamla hai” line.

Sample this ad featuring Govinda.

Notice how the recent trend of giving up ones hard earned sobriquets (Binani for BigB and recently Bad Man for petrol) was actually started by Govinda by bequeathing his Hero no 1 title to Rupa!

Rupa also recently shot one of the most hi-tech ads I have ever seen with Hrithik, all to sell their new ‘Macro Man’ chuddi-baniyans. And our man is delighted with the endorsement, I quote:

I am excited to be associated with this collection. I can identify with the brand on a personal level, as it is everything that I am.

Everyone was hoping he would elaborate a bit more on what he means by that exactly. But no such luck. So I guess we are supposed to assume that he is macho outside but 'Rupa’ inside. I tell you this metrosexual wave is going to ruin all that was male and good.

Well the point of this post was to answer the question that popped up in my mind is: “Why do chuddi-banians use celebrities?”

I have a hypothesis, but would love to hear your views on the subject (Is anyone reading this???) So write in on why you think celebrities are required in chuddi-banian ads, and I will share my hypothesis, once the responses run dry….