It is true that media, especially television has great influence on people. We often buy what see on TV. I, for one, was very tempted to eat ‘Egg in a Basket’, the first time I saw V For Vendetta. Yes it isn’t buying but it was presented in a way that the idea of an egg fried inside a toast was sold to me.
But in Pakistan some strange TV commercials are being produced these days. People have been discussing the new Coca Cola ads a lot. But the new Shaan ad takes the cake for being weird and degrading for Pakistan. If you have seen the complete ad, tell if what I say is wrong.
The ad starts with a Chinese woman staring out the window, looking at her neighbors. The husband understands her loneliness and asks her to make some friends. The problem a) we do not eat the same food and b) we do not speak the same language. Nevertheless she has an idea of befriending Pakistanis. She thinks of preparing Biryani, a favorite meal of Pakistanis throughout.
Before I move forward, there was one thing that I didn’t get. She prepared the Biryani by looking at the recipe on the back of the box of Shaan masala packet. If I m not mistaken, Shaan masala packets have recipes written on them in either Urdu or English or both. She is reading the recipe from the box and writing it down in Chinese (Mandarin or Cantonese not sure). Now it is established in the first scene that she cannot speak Urdu so let’s assume she translated the recipe from English which brings me to yet another point. If she can read and understand English well enough to translate than I’m assuming she can speak it as well. If so, why does she have trouble making friends in Pakistan? Are we so illiterate that if a foreigner comes to us and talks in English, we would not even be able to reply? Learn something from our cricketers (even if it is broken English that they speak, they can at least put their point forward) Shaan creative team, Pakistanis are not that ‘Jahil’.
Moving on, she takes her Biryani to the house across the street. Now she knows that Pakistanis don’t let the ‘Polio Ki Team’ inside their houses so she definitely doesn’t stand a chance that is why she also takes a spoon with her and not just one but as many as the number of family members in the neighbor’s house and they all attack on the Biryani (like a hungry jalsa crowd whose main attraction is not the speech of their leader but the Biryani that they’ll get after he is done). So just after tasting her Biryani, is when the family accepts her and her friendship. And they do not even offer her Biryani. She made it dammit! Show some hospitality. The family takes all her Biryani and in return offers her 2 cups of tea, one to hold in each hand and forces her to drink from both cups.
Now the one thing that Shaan’s creative team did get right was the essence of Pakistanis. A nation that sells their votes for a plate of Biryani would definitely accept a foreigner’s friendship for Biryani as well. In short, this ad felt very degrading to me. If you have been to Lahore or live there, you know that Lahoris are known for their hospitality, they do not need Biryani as an excuse for friendship. I, being a Pakistani am seriously felt offended by this ad. Friendships cannot be bought with Biryanis. See the ad here again after reading this and share your thoughts in the comments with me. AH.
When the Chinese lady rings the bell and the Lahori lady comes out and asks her, “Jee?” Wouldn’t it have been great if the Chinese woman would have just said,”Zalima Coca Cola Pilade.”