Everything is more complex now. A phone was used to talk to people. Now, a smart phone has enough technology built into launch a space satellite. A washing machine was a tub with a propeller; now it has enough programs to ... well, launch a satellite! You get the idea. Advertising too, has moved from the simple to the complex.
The SuperPhone intercom was launched with Mohammed Khan’s brilliantly simple line, “When you want to talk, you don’t have to walk.” For Vimal, Frank Simoes wrote the equally simple and brilliant, “A woman expresses herself in many languages, Vimal is one of them”.
But now, we want depth. Deep probes into the innards of the consumer psyche that leave experienced psychiatrists gasping in awe. Insights with a capital ‘I’ And we scour the landscape of the consumer’s life, to flush them out.
Insights are everywhere. There are motivations hidden in movie plots. And acuity in analogies and allegories (sometimes even in alliterations!) There are insights in every nook and cranny. And of course as everyone knows, Hindi films have more nooks and crannies than any other field of human activity.
You think I am kidding? Remember how Lagaan has been touted as actually being an exemplar of how teams work? Recently, a piece in a reputed pink paper drew financial planning lessons from the behaviour of the three buddies in Zindagi na milegi dobara. For the benefit of readers, here are a few more insights about life that I have gleaned from films. All free for you.
Bodyguard: Salman Khan says, “Mujhpe ek ehsan karna...ke mujhpe koi ehsan mat karna.” Go past the inanity of the dialogue, and you see that ‘Do me a favour. Don’t do me any favours’ is a thinly disguised reference to the dangers of overextending the balance payable on your credit card. ‘Be a pal, don’t lend me so much, that I can’t handle it’, is Salman’s learning that he shares with the audience, even as he pulverises anything that moves.
Damini: “Ye dhai kilo ka haath hai ... ye jab kissi pe padta hai, wo uthtaa nahi, uthh jaata hai,” says Sunny Deol. Pointing out how the momentum of a company’s stock, if it has a PE of more that 2500 (therefore, ‘dhai kilo’ - expressing the PE in grams) cannot but result in the share price going up. Thus “Uthh jaata hai”. A clear pointer for a wise investment strategy followed by your trusted Mutual Fund.
3 Idiots: “All izz well”. A reminder that a positive attitude is the secret of success. Expressed in the confidence that a girl has with her armpit treated with pumice dust, licorice extracts, and for good measure, emery paper. (Yes, the line is not quite English, but underarm products only promise sufficient confidence to get you to the party, they do not promise to improve your English spelling and get you a job as a proof checker.)
Dabbangg: “Mujhe thappad se darr nahi lagta sahab, pyaar se lagta hai”. An important insight into managing the Employer Brand. Sonakshi Sinha says that the company’s ‘stick’ approach in HR is perfectly acceptable to her, but she is wary of the ‘carrot’. Will the company guest house at Lonavla have mints on the pillow? Once she gets used to the birthday cake, will she next year expect a wedding cake from the company? Will the employee-friendly policy of allowing employees to bring their pet turtles to work eventually lead to someone bringing in a cow, and tethering it to the reception desk? Questions every VP-HR would do well to consider..
Sholay: “Yeh Ramgadh wale apni ladkiyon ko kaunsi chakki ka aata khilate hai?” Gabbar Singh, pointing out unequivocally, the importance of verifying the quality of the flour that one uses for the parathas, rotis and chapatis. Aware of the trend towards processed flour, he recommends whole wheat flour, milled at the finest mills.
Papa kehte hain: “Ghar se nikalte hii, kuchh duur chalte hii, raste me hai uska ghar...”. This one suggests that ... oh, so sorry. There is no insight here. It is just a set of street directions.
But maybe I have not pondered enough.