Hello again! The ad I am taking up for the “Conditioning is for Hair, Not Minds’ series in collaboration with The Spoilt Modern Indian Woman is by TVS tyres- watch it here and cringe once again at Indian TVs favourite misogynist, Kapil Sharma.
The commercial starts with Sharma offering a lift to a young man holding a bouquet of flowers, on his motorcycle. He’s late for a date it seems, and Sharma graciously offers to drop him. Sharma asks if this is his first girlfriend- the man replies saying she’s his fourth and that the last two left him in five months. They reach their destination after a rather bumpy ride, and Sharma offers him this gem of advice- “Yeh date-late ka chakkar chhor, aur kisi ek pe tik ja”. When asked to explain, he says, girlfriends should be like TVS tyres, because “Bura waqt ho ya sahi, acchi sadak ho ya nahin, tikey rehte hai”.
I really shouldn’t expect anything better from a man who has made a living out of degrading pretty much any community that didn’t fall under Upper-Caste-Heterosexual-North-Indian-Male. Watching Comedy Nights with Kapil was a weekly ritual at my house- watching him mock “Pinky Bua” for being an unmarried woman in her 40s, who in turn tries to entice all male guests on the show into marrying her (What kind of respectable Indian woman stays unmarried after 25? The horror!). Watching him insult his “wife” because her lips are too big, her father is too poor (I call my wife ugly and demean her family, ha ha, hilarious!). Listening to him ask Hema Malini if her husband understands “South Indian” (I don’t know if that’s any better than being asked multiple times, as I have, if we speak “Madrasi”). I could go on and on- racist, casteist misogynistic jokes are always a plenty on Comedy Nights.
Thankfully my parents got tired of the show pretty soon-and I was hoping to get a brief reprieve from his “jokes” when I heard Comedy Nights was FINALLY going off air, but I guess that was too good to be true.
So according to Sharma, “bura waqt ho ya sahi”, women should stick by their boyfriends through thick and thin- because any woman who leaves a man out of her own free will is a bad woman- Bharatiya Naaris just don’t have that luxury! We can get mocked, humiliated, insulted and beaten- but we can’t walk out of a relationship, since we have to be “totally tikau” like TVS tyres!
Comparing women to objects is definitely not a new practice in advertising, but comparing a woman to a tyre…that’s something I’ve never seen before. Maybe there is a layer of metaphorical irony there considering how women in India are expected to be the wheels that run a man’s life smoothly while running themselves into the ground, eventually burning out. But, then what do I know? I obviously need to “lighten up” because it’s “just a joke”! Shouldn’t be such a killjoy, eh?
The Director of TVS tyres says that this ad is “ushering in a new era”, using Kapil Sharma’s “charm” (!) and “humour”. Someone needs to break it to him that the only thing that’s “new” here is the low that Indian advertising has hit with this commercial.
Oh, and one more thing. Kapil Sharma, your comedy sucks, dudebro. Just fade away into oblivion already. Sorry, not sorry.
Shamolie is a foodie and a feminist who finally worked up the courage to start writing! Through her blog, she hopes to make people question beliefs they’ve long taken for granted, and view the world from a different perspective. She blogs at https://bicyclewithoutafish.wordpress.com/