Ornamental messages: The Tanishq ad

A measure of how 'backward' a society is to see how it portrays progressiveness. If you need to pat someone for what is considered normal, then it only means you do not view it as quite normal.

The new Tanishq ad for its wedding collection shows what is being touted as a dusky woman, and a mother, getting married. This is supposed to be about breaking of taboos regarding colour and remarriage. In reality it is so bloody self-conscious, besides of course being elitist.

All those who look down upon television soaps should know that these aspects have been handled in them, and quite sensitively at that. There was one recent serial 'Na Bole Tum Na Maine Kuchch Kaha' where a mother of two remarries, and if it means anything she was dusky too. And at no point was it alluded to.

This commercial is about jewellery, and therefore the message too is ornamental. To posit the woman's duskiness we have a fair groom, which amounts to seeking the acceptance of the acceptable. When her daughter says she wants to go 'round and round' the fire when the marriage vows are being taken, it is the man who carries her, his role as knight and proactive partner consolidated.

Don't bother to see this in the light of some great reformist movement. Corporate India that deals with so-called modern sensibilities has played safe by using a religious ceremony, the male as being 'fair' to society, and of course the possibility of such progressive thinking being the prerogative of a few who can afford luxury and by default the luxury of ostensibly going against the norm.

Once again, the 'revolt' has been appropriated.


  1. FV,

    1. The ad film sells jewellery. So it is bound to show characters who can afford the product. Besides (as the painful lament goes again and again), affluence does not guarantee either liberalism of progressiveness.

    2. By itself, widow remarriage has not been a taboo in popular culture. Even mainstream Hindi cinema has depicted it many times, sometimes with brouhaha and sometimes without. So the TV soap argument is neither here nor there.

    3. The film in question is effective in what it aims to say. Nothing more, nothing less. Those who are hailing it (online!) as some sort of a social revolution are as shallow as the soaps you talk about.


  2. F&F:

    1. I did indicate that 'afford' was a double whammy. 

    2. Indeed, widow remarriage has been portrayed in other mainstream works as well. I mentioned the soap because the ad reaches a large TV-viewing audience. 

    3. I don't think the message is simple. And if you give the benefit of doubt to such ads then do so for soaps as well. They too try within the strictures of the format to say something. 

  3. I think you are reading too much into it - it is just an ad and many couples gets married after having kids -recently a colleague got married to his partner after 20 yrs living together- Lets celebrate marriage with or without tanishq

  4. FV, I often wonder about the mindset of women (and men) who will lecture everyone about women's rights while also executing projects at Ad firms objectifying women such as the one you have linked to (yes, such people do exist, though in their more honest moment, they will admit to being amoral mercenaries). The cognitive dissonance must be painful, unless they manage to cover it all up with a blanket of bare-faced hypocrisy, which is not too difficult coming actually.



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