Category Archives: Ads of My World

Chicks, Vodka, Fancy Car, Abki Baar Honey Sarkar

This is brilliant as random can be.

Ashish Shakya

There are times when I’m classy and there are other times, when I listen to Yo Yo Honey Singh. This usually happens at house parties, where the unwritten rule is that once the night reaches a certain hour (Drunk O’Clock), one must drop all pretences of sophistication and flail about to songs that were written under the influence of the nastiest drug possible – being Punjabi.

Thanks to these songs, I’m now aware that Punjab’s number one industry is the Wearing Sungoggal While Indoors industry, and that a woman is a machine that you pour alcohol into until sex comes out. Of course, this is probably the nicest thing that Sri Sri Yo Yo Singh has said about women, or as he likes to call them, <insert pelvic thrust here>.

The song that first made him popular, especially in the college circuit, was an underground hit called… um, sadly, the…

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When I went to watch a dramatic book reading of Sherlock Homes, I stumbled upon a much bigger conspiracy to kill art.

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Remember the good old Doordarshan days, when at 9PM sharp a thin, properly dressed, bearded gentleman used to read news in English. The man your mom probably had a crush on. He was Sunit Tondon, the man who played Sherlock in this 50 minute performance. And frankly the reason for me to cover the interstate distance of Gurgaon to Connaught Place.

The book reading was just fine, it was quite like a staged drama, the only difference being: actors reading from the script which they held in their hands.

But as the show ended, something strange happened. The owner of Akshara Theatre, an octogenarian came on to the stage, introduced the cast and spread open his kurta, and said, “Apart from being an artist, I am also a beggar”. The audience was shocked.

He told us how this theatre is special. How its architecture is unique. How he himself learnt carpentry to assemble this wooden auditorium for performing arts. He told us how limited the aids are, and how running every show is getting tougher as its burning a hole in his pocket.

Looking at an old man in such a state, asking his audience for financial help, made me very uncomfortable inside. But then, I thought of the embarrassment he must be going through. In his age, when he should be given all the comforts of the world for sacrificing his life to arts, he still has to struggle to keep it alive.

Below, I have attached a few images of Akshara Theatre. If possible, do go there to enjoy a show. It’s the least we can do keep its legacy alive.

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The architecture will leave you awestruck before the performance does.

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The waiting hall is where yummy soup is served which you can enjoy next to a fire place. YES, THIS PLACE HAS A FIRE PLACE!

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Yes, it’s small, but it has stood witness to some big performances.

72 hours of continuous work turned me into a zombie. And surprisingly, a better person too.

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So you are informed late Friday evening that you are supposed to work on a pitch for a major electronic brand. As a result you cancel your vacation and decide to stay back in office, because you would rather live a hectic life than enjoy Maa ke haath ka khana. 

For two straight days after working in multiple directions we were lost. Me and my art partner. Primary reason, there was no senior to lead us.

Lesson 1: No matter how talented you are, you can get confused if you lack direction.

Sunday morning our boss came from Mumbai, and as I introduced him to our massive creative block. He said, “Good that you are confused, so am I”.

Lesson 2: No matter how talented and experienced you are, it’s okay to be confused and lost sometimes.

Those words calmed me down. And at that very moment I knew we’ll make it through. We spent next hour and a half doing something very productive. Any guesses? Cracking jokes and discussing anecdotes.

Lesson 3: Come what may, never lose your sense of humour.

Next day was the presentation, and by evening we were half done with our ads. And I was told to go and supervise editing of not one but two montages that we would present to our client. And all we had was the night. I rushed to the studio. With an aim to put around 70 odd images in two films and make some sense out of it in just a matter of eight hours. And as you know I was in prime shape working for last 48 hours. 3 hours through the editing I saw pictures of a little girl on the wall. I asked the guy who was she, and at that very moment, he left his mouse, pushed his key board aside, smiled at the pictures and told me that her daughter’s name was Shreya.

Lesson 4: Families are magical.

By the time it was 5 AM, I became less of a creative guy and more of a manager, because our meeting was scheduled at 9 and we were just half way through in the editing of our first film. My chop-chop-chop approach was annoying the editor, and more importantly, it was annoying me, but timeline was  a bitch and I had to act like one too.

We completed both the films somehow. But then…files were not getting recorded on a DVD. Errors.

Lesson 4: Always keep buffer time for Murphy’s Law to play its course.

I rushed back to office, but guess what, it was  Monday morning to traffic had to be at its peak. As soon as I reached office, I was hoping that nothing else goes wrong. And luckily that was the end of it. My bosses took the films and left for the presentation and I went back home early stinking badly with hair that were going everywhere. Thinking that this 72 hours of blockbuster action was blog-worthy…

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The difference between art and copy is that writing good copy is a dying art.

Broken-Pencil-CreativeYes, sometimes I feel we copywriters are a more endangered specie than Leatherback Sea Turtle or Mediterranean  Monk Seal. Huh, funny name, creates a picture in your mind of a seal dressed up in a browninsh maroon robe and shaking its bum on a Habibi-Habibi track. Seeeeee how well I used a cultural stereotype to make a serious issue of endangered animals look frivolous. That’s what we copywriters do; we sell Happiness.

But lately in a world dominated by visual ads, where the visual joke has taken over, it’s tough for us wordy-storytellers to survive. Every art person wants a shorter headline. And by shorter headline they mean an emotional synonym of Just Do It. Needless to say in three words only.

No wonder you see a headline like “Luxury Redefined” on a newspaper ad and wonder, “Where have I read this before?”. I’ll tell you where, in 14,98,45,05,382 ad campaigns written all around the world. Funny part is that the client would pump in so much money just to advertise a blind spot.

Every episode of Mad Men, makes me feel bad for our generation of writers. Freedom to write, play with words, do word-play, be clever, be ironic is so little. And speaking of irony, isn’t it bizarre that we make dumbed-down communication for a generation that lives, breathes, thinks Smart Phones.

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Think positive. Stay negative.

Happy World AIDS day to everyone.

What an impoverished writer has to say about two broke girls.

 

Two delicious reasons why I’ve been watching this sitcom are right in front of you. And I wish I could say it was the cupcakes, but it isn’t. In this world obsessed with perfect 10 figures (or is it size zero?), Kate Dennings’ full bodied persona not only captures the attention of old school men like me, but also perfectly fits the character of Max, a real girl who’s tough, independent, smart but has a cynical point of view towards life. She has to work as a waitress in the night and as a baby sitter in the day time to make the ends meet.

Now moving on to the other broke girl, Caroline Channing, played by Beth Behrs, was actually a heiress of a billion dollar fortune. But lost everything as her father was sent to jail for being involved in a nationwide fraud. She also starts working at the same diner as miss-so-curvy-so-hot has been serving coffee for quite some time. Quite naturally, they become friends. But due to Caroline’s big time MBA degree from a Stanford like school and her enterprising and entrepreneurry  DNA, she recognizes  a business opportunity in Max’s delightful home-made cupcakes.

Every episode takes you through their quest to save money for their business plan, and how things go here there and everywhere. A typical sitcom scenario. Though the series is pretty oestrogen-led, and probably guys would be thinking why in the world should I watch this series with a radiating pink aura, may I suggest you scroll up a little a bit and you’ll get a handful of reasons why you shouldn’t miss it.

Other attractions of the series would be a Ukrainian cook who cooks without a shirt, and desperately wants to get into the girls’ pants. Han Lee, diner owner of Chinese origin, who undoubtedly is the cutest character of the series, always trying his hand on new gimmicks to increase diner sales, and trying everything under the sun to look hip to fit into the American culture.

(P.S. – I thank the person who recommended me 2 Broke Girls. For those who think that I’ve tried to objectify women, or, my opinion of beauty is very superficial; in my defence, I just happen to be a big fan of curves. And sitcoms. And Kate Dennings.)

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Why Silence of the Lambs left me speechless…

This Sunday I saw the one of the most talked about psychological thrillers of all times. And realised one thing, a classic always stays a classic. One thing about timeless movies is that they always get the basics right.

Character: They’ll always be distinct. At least one of them will be. Here it was Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a twisted psychiatrist turned cannibal. Though his hair were neatly combed to the back, his dominating blue eyes sent a chill down my spine.

Plot: This is what keeps the story together. And more contradictory it is, stronger it becomes. The trick is to keep it believable. Here, the idea was to catch a psychopath killer with the help of a bigger, more twisted sociopath who’s blessed with an uncanny brilliance to understand human psyche.

Twist: Hiding in plain sight, Dr. Lecter fools Swat, the entire police force and everyone who’s trying to catch him.

Attention to detail: Jack Crawford, the psychiatrist who sends Charlice Starling, a young FBI officer, to lure Dr. Lecter for help, never mentions his intentions till she visits him twice. Why? Because a genius psychopath with an uncanny instinct would’ve detected her motive, if she had one, in the first place. So, the best way to shield that was to never give her a strong reason for her visits. This kind of thinking and counter thinking is what produces a gem of a story.

As we move towards the era of execution and special-effects-oriented film making, where Optimus Prime and Bumble Bee become more than just vehicles every 20 minutes, story takes a back seat. It’s imperative not to forget the basics is what makes the movie an all-time movie, execution will be laughed at as newer more advanced execution takes over. But a great story will always be appreciated.