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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Khudhah Key Liye

Last weekend, just by chance, i flipped through DD National, and found the Pakistani hit, "Khudah Ke Liye" being screened. Sceptical at first, I was finally gripped by the central theme: the damage that fanaticism of any kind can do to a person's character. It is a powerful PR film for the secular cause, and trust DD to air it without any kind of publicity. In the media clutter, with hundreds of programmes being on in any given evening, it would have made sense for DD to advertise about when the film was being aired...
Coming, as it did, with India-Pakistan talks going in the background, it provided a powerful commentary on the illness that has overtaken Pakistan.
Thus do our PR coups go unnoticed....

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Grinning like a jackass..
It seems to be a great PR idea.
When you are making a movie around a cartoonist, a famous one, and that too, around his "common man', why not visit the actual guy, who is in his deathbed at a hospital ?
And invite the cameras in, for a great photo-op?
That's what Akshay Kumar, actor did: he walked into the ICU ward where cartoonist
RK Laxman is struggling for life,
and sat next to him, grinning, as one critic put it, 'like a jackass".
Well i dont know what a jackass is...but the picture sure made my stomach turn.
Akshay with a wide grin on his face, as though he's just got an Oscar, jubilant and healthy.
Laxman, frail, confusion showing on his face, tubes poking out of his body, staring at Akshay kumar.
Akshay should fire his PR consultant, for sure.
Knowing when a PR idea can become a disaster is sure tough, eh ? Those kids coming  out from IIMC better be promotion has limits, right?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Is democracy really better than old-style monarchy?

On 6th of July, I got out of office at 6 pm. From my office (Lodi road) to home in Andrewsganj is just 2.5 kilometres. I reached home at 7.30 pm, a full one and a half hours after i set out. The roads were totally gridlocked. To add to this, was the convoy of Shiela Dixit, Chief Minister of Delhi, with sirens blaring, impatient to get out of the mess into which her adminstration had pushed us into. None of us gave way to the convoy (we physically could not have, unless they had winched our cars out by helicopter),,so finally they went back to her office, without attending the function which she was supposed to attend. (The function was the inauguration of a foot-bridge across the ring road, by the way). That gave us some collective satisfaction. Half my tank of diesel was over, because i kept my A.C switched on , as it was very hot and humid.
All this happened within an arms' reach of Humayan's Tomb. The vision the Mughals had for the dead, our government is unable to have for the living!! The irony...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

SSSSSSSnakes in the Grass..

All practioners of Public Relations would do well to follow the McChrystal episode in American politics closely. One of America's well known Generals, the top military man in Afghanistan, he made the singular error of loosening his mouth around when a journalist was around. Thinking that whatever he said was "off the record", he and his entourage carelessly badmouthed everybody in the Obama administration, in the presence of a journalist from "Rolling Stone", who hung around with them for a week, sharing their drinks, eating their food, and eavesdropping on everything they said in their private moments. The journalist went back, and wrote a profile on Gen McChrystal, titled "The Runaway General". The article added up bits and pieces of whatever the hapless General said to his underlings, and put out a picture of military disrespect and insolence for civilian authority.  When the article got published, not surprisingly, Obama sacked the General. The magazine claimed that the General knew that everything he said was on the record. They further claimed that they had sent the article to the General before they published it. What they actually did was send an innocuous little questionnaire, called a fact-checker, which did not even reveal the countours of the devastating article....
Funnily enough, the General actually had a "Media Advisor", who had invited the journalist to spend a week with them...
Moral of the story? Never trust the press to actually put out the story you want them to put out. They are there to make their living by spitting on you.  Never, never let your guard down.
As we know, there is no corporate tycoon or a politician out there without his little "Media Advisor", who would  be able to string together two decent sentences, or sniff a PR disaster, even when it stares him in the face....