Rahul da Cunha: Celebrity saleability!

By  Rahul Da Cunha | Posted  23-Apr-2017

Illustration/Uday Mohite
Illustration/Uday Mohite

So, I'm a great believer in the power of ads to convince me to buy a brand. Plus, I'm a blind follower of celebrity endorsements.

Meaning if Shahrukh Khan says that I should use Fair and Handsome to make my skin whiter, which in turn will give me the confidence to woo the ladies, I totally believe him.

I've started using the brand, but my skin is getting a bit darker, which I'm told could be one of the side effects of a fairness cream. (I wish I had listened to Abhay Deol).

I also know that some celebs convince you to buy a brand while they themselves use the competition - MS Dhoni, insists you buy Orient Fans, while in his home in Ranchi he has only Havells.

On another note, all the cricketers are doing a unified item number for Jio Reliance, while they all use Vodafone. (Someone told me that the Jio Reliance ad is actually for Kingfisher Airlines, but with Vijay Mallya courting arrest no one's saying it loudly - in the distance, dear reader, if you listen carefully, you will hear, ulleleleuleu, the Kingfisher song).

I have to admit that the one celebrity that psychs me slightly is Ajay Devgn.

Check out his Vimal supari ad. It terrifies me, not because of the medical dangers of a pan masala. No, no, no. Ajay Devgn himself terrifies me.

This year, he has a strange hand gesture that he exchanges with total strangers – like a, 'Dude I'm watching you, if you veer towards Milan supari, I'll stalk you on Twitter!" But, hey, maybe it's only me that feels this fear.

Which brings me to Amitabh Bachchan. So, I'll be honest. I buy anything the Big B endorses - often he's so dynamic on screen that I forget what he's selling and buy the competitive product. But, when he, dressed in full Kathiawadi garb, recommends I visit Kutch, I go even if it's 55 degrees in the shade, and I'm likely to die of sunstroke. When he insists I use Dr Fixit at home, I do even if I don't have leakage. I was so convinced by his pitch for Binani Cement, I tried to convince my building society to go in for redevelopment just so we could use the brand. Now that the summer is on, I'm so blown by his presence on screen, I can't remember which air conditioner he's recommending.

Which brings me to Sonu Nigam. I want to buy what he's recommending.

For one, he endorsing internal religiousness.

See, I live in a part where the 'azaan' kicks off at 5 am, the temple bells reciprocate in ten minutes, I'm flanked by two churches whose choirs start singing slightly off key, and my Sikhs neighbour's 'wahe guru' bhajans brings up the rear. So, I totally see the Bollywood singer's issues but I better not say this loudly for fear of being trolled.

Shri Nigam also endorses shaving your scalp. So, I'm thinking I might follow suit - except there could be one problem - if I tonsure my scalp, I might invite a fatwa on my head.

Rahul da Cunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at rahuldacunha62@gmail.com