Sunday, February 15, 2009

A New Treat

Apparently, a right wing Hindu organization is in the final stages of making a major splash in the beverage market – by introducing packaged ‘cow’s urine’. According to sources, the product will be marketed in various customer-pleasing flavors, including something as exotic as aloe vera. Me and a friend of mine (who is from an Ayurvedic pharma company) managed to catch up with Mr. Kumar, the Managing Director of this new enterprise. As he took us around his facility, I tried to break the ice by remarking ‘Being pissed off is no longer a theoretical expression for your cows’. He made a painful grimace, but started talking about his new venture.

“It doesn’t get any more organic than this.” He explained to us “We go through a multi-step filtration process and follow an ancient method of refining it. We have even obtained ISO 9001 certification for it. However, we don’t subject it to Pausterization because it removes not only the germs, but also the holy properties of our product.”

“That is bullshit” screamed my companion.

“No no. Bullshit is another product that we are currently working on. Don’t confuse with that” Mr. Kumar explained. “At present, we are experimenting with seven or eight flavors. We also have the premium product, which has been aged for over two decades. We will also bring out the janata variety that is affordable for most people. Remember, our products don’t have any expiry dates”

“Ah, I see.” We marveled.

:”We are also coming up with a line of household cleaning and ‘propitiating’ products using the same raw material - especially suitable for people buying new homes.” Then Mr. Kumar proceeded to substantiate his statement with a short sloka about how a cow gives and gives.

“We tried various taglines – like ‘there is a wow, In every cow’ or ‘You charge and we discharge’. But we finally settled on ‘Holier than cow’” Mr. Kumar added. He then explained his marketing strategy a bit, although he said that he is not at liberty to give us the details.

“In blind laboratory testing, we found no difference between our product and Coors Light beer – even the pH matched. So, we are optimistic about capturing the obese, North American market, and also penetrating the Euro Zone.”

“Sir, who will be your brand ambassadors?” we popped the question.

“Again, I cannot reveal it just as yet. But several celebrities have already signed up, including politicians, actors and businesspeople.”

We fired a final professional question. “Tell us, Mr, Kumar. Which would you recommend for your customers, bottled or canned version?”

Mr. Kumar had that cynical laugh. “This question has been around right since the Vedic days. Actually, the best form of delivery is ‘on tap’. But that may be a bit difficult for several of our customers, because you will have to get between the legs of the cow and push the tail away and start tickling the cow to get output. Not recommended for some of our overweight politicians.”

Moo over Pepsi, Coke.

(The above conversation is fictional. But I am dead serious about the news of such a drink)

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire and beyond

Taking a cue from the resounding success of Slumdog Millinaire, in the USA and in India, Bollywood is wasting no time in re-releasing yesteryear’s Indian hits in the USA. Yesterday’s Beverly Hills mega opening of Jai Santoshi Maa (re-named Maa dot com for the American audience) is truly symbolic of how far Bollywood has come in winning over the West.

The event was organized by Mr. Raj Gupta, who has the distributions rights to the film in the USA and was attended by a veritable who’s who of Hollywood glitterati. “This is not about making a fast buck on the current India wave, but to introduce the Americans to quintessentially Indian sensibilities, like mother sentiment, Ajit phattas and the Seeta-Geeta twin conundrum.“ He told reporters that extra footage, shot in dharavi, was added to the film’s re-release, in response to the overwhelming curiosity the West has shown about the Mumbai slum, considered the largest in Asia.

Already Dharavi is proving to be a major ‘Terror-tourism’ destination, where for prices upwards of $ 2500, strong-stomached tourists can experience first-hand pickpocketing, all-female gaali competition, mugging, gang-fights etc. A three day premium package includes a live political assassination and a thrilling election booth capture, midnight smuggling cruises kind of adventures. There are also economy packages which include self-guided tour of Dharavi, but the operators do not guarantee your return passage though.

The scene outside the fashionable Mann theatre, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles resembled Rio’s carnival, with celebs dashing in and out of stretch limos. This reporter managed to catch up with a few of them.

“The subterfuges of the subliminal in a polychromatic emotional canvass caught me completely off-guards” said Kate Winslett, the winner of two recent Golden Globes, dressed in an elegant light blue churidar dress, specially designed for the occasion.

“It is interesting – in a sort of, kind of way.” said Martin Scorcese as he emerged from the premier of the movie “The character arc of the Mother figure, going from the mother the protector to the mother, the destroyer is thematically very powerful.”

“The movie defied any classification” admitted Clint Eastwood, who was recently snubbed by the Goldern Globe awards. “It smoothly crossed over from the ‘action-comedy’ to the ‘family drama’ genre, with touches of ‘Horror’ and sci-fi. I have never seen anything like this.”

With the Hollywoodization of Bollywood and the Bollywoodization of Hollywood, can Tollywood and Kollywood be far behind, ask industry experts.

When contacted at her residence in East Godavari district in Eastern India, Pichaayee Homeopathi, 76, the star of the movie, said that she was still in shock. “Just imagine, getting a call from Steven Spieldberg. He wants me to do two movies for him – both without any make-up.”

Gupta also told this reporter that he is currently working on several projects – including re-releasing classics like Dara Singh’s ‘Lootera’ (Loot it, dude, for Hollywood) and the timeless ‘Daku aur Mahatma’ (dubbed ‘The Good, the Bad, the Ugly and the Mahatma) But for now, he is busy working on the re-re-release of Maa dot com in India with the new title Amma