The International Writers Magazine:We're all idols now
youve watching the unfolding of this programme on Sony,
you will get my drift. Everybody wants to make it to the limelight.
Every week, Sony brings us the hopes and expectations of Gen Next.
Some are obviously
talented. Some are just supremely confident. Some wear their heart on
Judging them are three names that have made it, Sonu Nigam,
Anu Malik and Farah Khan. While Sonu Nigam and Anu Malik judge singing
and musical ability, Farah checks out the saleability quotient of the
contestants. Which one of the thousands of aspirants has it in him or
her to be a mass icon?
The person will no doubt be a singer of some talent, I suppose.
The rest will depend on packaging.
Being in advertising, I understand the value of packaging. Today, it
is no longer important to have the talent. You have to be able to strut
your stuff. You have to be able to correctly merchandise yourself.
In fact, it doesnt matter if you dont have the content.
Just get the packaging right.
I see it day after day in the advertising agency where I work. Quiet
ads finish last. Unfortunately, so do quiet people. Those who shout
the loudest, are heard. Those who demand increments, get them. Those
who say they are hot are thought to be so. The days of the
backroom boys are over. You can have all the talent in the world, but
if you havent packaged yourself right, forget it.
profiling, and networking these are the buzzwords. Without
them, you are a babe in the woods, lost without a trace.
Marketing is a must-have skill. No excuses, you have to develop
it if you dont have it, its make or buy. If you dont
promote yourself, who will?
Those who drink late into the night with the boss, will get the
Those who laugh loudest at the bosss jokes will be in favour.
Those who make friends and influence people in other organisations
will get the interview call.
Talent? Not mandatory.
Modesty is for the
imbeciles. Highly expendable.
Mallika Sherawat uncovers all and becomes cover girl.
Publicity rules. Fortunes are spent on promoting a film, a product,
a singer, an actress. Money is spent like kal ho na ho.
Arindam Chaudhri, marketing whiz, packages Rok sakey Toh Rok lo and
guarantees its success. He has the winning formula.
Politicians hire image-makers and control votes. The image becomes more
real than the reality.
The model of your car could drive opinion. And your mobile phone had
better start a conversation.
Aishwarya Rai schools her smiles. Her publicist frowns if she sneezes
So our cricketers learn to shed their small town ways and become stars.
Painters host wine and cheese parties. The recluse author becomes a
forgotten story. Talent becomes a page 3 item number.
There was the father who declared on national TV that he was proud of
his daughters kaanta laga publicity stunts, because if that is
what it takes to make it, so be it. He would not hamper his daughters
ambitions with middle class morality.
So when a mother tells her child to project herself in school,
to make herself heard, to push herself, she is not being crass, she
is being realistic. She tells her child to work sincerely, but she also
nudge him towards taking flowers for principal maam. She tells
him not to sing his own praises but she coaxes him to make the right
impression, on the right people. She despairs that her child is too
good to be successful. She hates the idea of her child getting overshadowed
by showpiece kids. She worries that her not-so-shining kid is getting
an inferiority complex. And she strives to make him more worldly.
So should we all commercialise our children so that they dont
get labeled as under-achievers?
Where do innocence, talent, discovery, and sincerity values that
we would like to cherish fit in?
While I ponder over all these, I am reminded about this schoolteacher
that I happen to know. She teaches music in a Delhi school. Her talent
is towering. Her knowledge of music is humbling. Yet nobody knows of
her. She is the one who should be judging The Indian Idol. But she lives
When I visited her some time ago, I immediately went into exploit mode.
I offered to work with her, get her lucrative assignments, introduce
her to the right people in media, in short, market her. I itched to
make a product out of her.
She told me she didnt have her voice on tape. Her music collection
was also on spools. She wouldnt loan it or make MP3s out of it.
She did not want more money, or appreciation. Her gurus blessings
meant the world to her. Her singing was an art, to be worshipped, not
used. Her music gave her a reason for being and she enjoyed teaching
the children at school. That was enough. She did not want more. I was
looking at The Indian Ideal.
But she looked upon me as something unsavory, while here I was, fancying
myself as the saviour.
Following the music teachers act is tough, very tough. But I think
that maybe Ill give it a try. Or else, I can always get drunk
with the boss.
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