Luv shuv jihad

Updated: 18 October, 2020 07:33 IST | Rahul da Cunha | Mumbai

"Because then sales will double, boss! That is called marketing strategy, samajyu ke?" he concluded

Illustration/Uday Mohite
Illustration/Uday Mohite

Rahul da CunhaAnd so, I made a TV commercial for a brand of kitchenware called Kishanchand Chandamama.

You may not have seen the ad, dear reader, but please watch it as it could be pulled off the air, any day now, considering modern Twitter backlashes.

Here's the story: A young Parsi girl goes to the home of her Gujarati fiancé, to meet the parents and the joint family he lives in. As she enters the home, her mother-in-law to be, leads her by the hand, indicating that there are three kitchens—since residents include vegetarians, non-vegetarians and vegans all living under the same roof. The ad ends with the Voice Over saying, "Kishanchand Chandamama Kitchenware… suits all tastes and palettes." That's the ad in summary.

Anyway, all hell has broken loose. The protests on the streets, and the trolling on social media have begun. Here are some of the tweets:

#GharJamai, tweeted, "What if the roles were reversed? Why not a Gujarati boy entering a Parsi home?"

#MyLifeSucks, tweeted, "Why does every bride to be need to be shown kitchens as if that is where her only place is!"

BHONU & FRIED, an all-ladies Parsi food catering service, staged a silent protest in the garden of Malcolm Baug, Andheri. When asked by TV channels the reason for the protest, Mrs Siloo Panthaky, the CEO replied, "We demand that the makers of the advertisment must show a fourth kitchen where the Parsi food is prepared! How possibly can dhansak, papeta par eedu and saas ni macchi be made in the same kitchen as these vegan people? It is ridiculous. We strongly object."

Kangana Ranaut, tweeted, "I am very much personally insulted and offended by this advertisement and these creative terrorists. It gives me personal anguish, it is nepotism at its most extreme, I am sure this ad is made by that creative terrorist, Karan Johar."

The All Mumbai Thod Phod Parivar head, Whatsapped me, "Sir hamara order hai, we have to smash up some of the Kishanchand Chandamama showrooms, but Google maps pe nahin dikh raha hai. Kahan hai tumhara showrooms?"

I told him that there was an outlet in Bhuleshwar and one in Navi Mumbai, but because of COVID-19, the Bhuleshwar one was locked. "Arre sir, we cannot get bus or rickshaw to go to Navi Mumbai. Bahuth door hai," he replied, irritated.

The client, Shaileshbhai Solanki, aka Sam, said to me, "You see, I am very much upset. These troll people are not wanting to boycott my goods like they do with House of Tatas. Why it is so?"

"Because sir you only make saucepans, kadais etc. You need to broaden your range of products. Also, for the future we need a cooler shorter name for the company, so Twitterati can easily say something like #BoycottKC or #BoycottKishnChand #BoycottKishanchandChandamma isn't quite cool enough."

I asked Shaileshbhai Solanki, aka Sam, if he'd like to withdraw the ad, in the light of the backlash. He rubbed his hands and gave me a Fagin-like chuckle and said, "Let us remove just before Diwali?"

"Why Diwali, Sam?" I enquired.

"Because then sales will double, boss! That is called marketing strategy, samajyu ke?" he concluded.

Rahul daCunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at rahul.dacunha

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First Published: 18 October, 2020 07:33 IST

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