In a world where everyone is busy achieving their personal goals, we as individuals have stopped thinking about the nation as a whole.
A flip through news channels and newspaper pages presents the stark reality of our society today. While we spend hours and hours talking about the ills plaguing Indian society, how many of us actually take a step further and act against them?
Multi Screen Media's Sony Entertainment Television (SET) along with its creative agency Leo Burnett have through the two promos of Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC)'s eight season.
The first film titled Kohima makes one shameful about the fact that even though we all know aboutthe north east being a part of India, the denizens of that region are often derided and ridiculed and called names, and even treated as outsiders when they travel to other parts of the country. The promo has already been talked about in an earlier article on indiantelevision.com.
The second KBC8 TVC gives a different perspective on the Hindu-Muslim divide. The commercial is set in a tiny neighbourhood (chawl in India) in which a Hindu and Muslim family are neighbours. Ankit, a boy from the Hindu family is chosen to participate in KBC. His family is hugging him and wishing him good luck as he is about to depart to take part in the game show. The members of the Muslim family are watching the scene from the balcony of their home above and sniggering; and one of them even sneezes out aloud deliberately - which is considered a bad omen by some Hindus. The young folks from the Hindu family want to confront the Muslim youngsters but are stopped by their father. Cut to the set of KBC and Amitabh Bachchan has asked a question which has stumped Ankit. He chooses to use the phone a friend helpline. And the friend he chooses to call - is the Muslim household as he has been asked the meaning of As salamu alaykum. The elder of the Muslim family - who are also watching the episode in which Ankit is participating - picks up the call and gives him the correct answer - "Khuda Tumhe Salamat Rakhe" (God keep you safe). Both the Hindu and Muslim families then celebrate Ankit's win by hugging each other.
The two promos show how KBC has evolved through its various messages over the years. From 'Koi Bhi Sawaal Chhota Nahi Hota' to 'Seekhna Band...Toh Jeetna Band,' the channel has come up with innovative messaging almost every year.
However, what differentiates this message from the previous ones is the fact that from just focusing on an individual the focus has shifted to the society as a whole. Amitabh Bachchan in his baritone voice has alway exhorted viewers to acknowledge the power of self and grow it through the power of knowledge. Now, the show promises to touch people's hearts with the stories of community bonding.
The message of KBC season 8's campaign 'Yahan Sirf Paisa Nahi, Dil Bhi Jeete Jate Hain' (We don’t win only money, we win hearts too), has beautifully integrated social messages within the script making one sit-up and take notice.
It is not the first time that a general entertainment channel (GEC) has touched upon social issues and tried to invoke the right and the wrong within people. But what separates these promos from the rest is the fact that they are hard hitting and talk directly to people. They are a mirror reflecting our society in simple yet assertive manner.
The yet-to-be released TVC talks about how KBC and Amitabh Bachchan has crept into our nation's collective consciousness and involves entire communities, if one of their members is selected to participate in the game show. The film opens in a small village where people are busy stringing up loudspeakers across its streets. A man beaming with happiness is shown keeping a phone next to a microphone. The telephone rings shrilly and the voice of Big B reverberates through the whole village and the villagers leap up in deliight. The TVC then cuts back to the KBC set where the surprised AB asks the contestant ‘tumne toh family ko phone kiya tha?’ to which he replies, ‘They are all my family.’
The person on the phone then asks Mr Bachchan to recite one of his favourite dialogues to which he says, “aaj khush to bahut hoge tum.”
Will the promos on which the agency worked for almost two months help change society is not sure, but what’s certain is that they will make one look inside, especially when the incidents happening around make us hang our heads in shame.