Bollywood Conquers All
“I think you should go in for Loreal this time… you see, you need one reason to change your shampoo, Aishwarya gives you five!” This response i got from a friend when asked for a possible hair-fall solution. Does this indicate the rapidly changing entertainment landscape of India, a peep in that star-studded galaxy, which succinctly frameworks how filmdom in India is no longer just an artistic or creative enterprise. Bollywood has sustained a synergetic fidelity with the ad world so much so that it has taken over it entirely.
The glamorous brigade seems to me to be here, there and everywhere, an act that keeps a regular check on the floppy careers of the actors, exhausts big bucks for the country and enhances brand Bollywood in real terms. As scholarly interest in consumption rises, zero importance is paid to the productive, and the use of commodities within creation processes. For instance, early 1990’s marked the multiplication of commoditised, branded clothing in the marketplace. Introduction of these clothes into film costume production drew on identical discernments that producers employed in their guise as consumers. This led to the dress-designer’s fluency with brands and fashion, solidifying their professional standing but representing concurrently the costume production as a field of social practice that included many actors, who did not share the same dispositions towards consumption as the genuine consumers.
The celebrity endorsement bazaar of India is nailed at around Rs 800 crore annually. Leading Bollywood actors promote 10 to 15 products an year, making more than Rs 4.5 crore from each deal on an average. With celebrities now endorsing everything from designer wear and beauty products to gadgets and hair oil, disquiet has been expressed by many brand consultants about risking over-exposure and lack of credibility. An interesting find in this star-struck market are the new Dove and Vodafone ads, which have dropped the ever monotonous celebs and are instead bringing in fresh new faces, in that way instigating brand connect.
That these products demand a serious, sober coverage is a truism, regardless, the notion that media has been devising ways to stand up for the actual concern of its audience is mostly a farce. Our media is necessarily spoiling for a fight with the non-existent enemies of our proud democracy, just so long as it can keep Bollywood in central focus. There is negligible freedom for the few industry wallahs, who still believe that the corporate media ought to be doing a better job of informing the public on the key issues of consumer awareness. That though is not the case with the viewers. They have ample freedom to choose any channel, from among many, to watch SRK or Amitabh Bachchan saying the exact same thing, at the same time!
The aristocracy that the cherished Bollywood effectively maintains establishes its permanent place in the hearts of the chivalric media, the appealing advertisements and last but not the least, the ever-yearning corporate. To beg consideration, everything needs to be dressed up in a manner apt to the common glitter choking us. It entails to be justified not by its importance to the public but by its acceptability to the media, the owners and their sponsors. The irony strikes back as we apprehend that the more rooted this adulation becomes, the greater would be the danger to the language of democracy the media smugly claims to champion.
By Kalyani Vaishnavi