By Kunjila Mascillamani
So Tata Salt has released its ‘Making of an Olympian’ campaign. It features male and female Olympians talking about their success stories. Only, when it comes to women, it is not their success stories. While all the Olympians agree in the series that it is overwhelming to represent your country, the ad with wrestler Babita Kumari seems to be about how her father tried to make himself believe that she is a boy. Babita might have won gold, wrestling, but her father is tougher because he is the real reason why she got the gold. “I am Babita Kumari, wrestler. Daughter of the legendary wrestler, Mahavir Phogat. I am what I am today because dad always made me compete with boys,” she says. Of course she has been made to believe that is why she turned out to be the awesome sportsperson she is.
To top it all, the campaign’s hashtag is namakkewaastey [for the sake of salt], a way of saying that by representing the country these athletes are paying back the country that fed them and allowed them to grow. Iodised salt is what makes people grow, all right.
What is interesting is that while the whole campaign is about how sportsperson due to the fact that they are representing the country are paying tribute to it, paying back what they owe to the nation, to be Tatasalt-like, its video for male athlete Inderjeet Singh, shotputter, seems to be about how the athlete had to train himself in the absence of floodlights, using car lights. While Shiva Thapa, does have a photograph with his father, he is seen saying ‘I was born to be a boxer’ and how much he trains, not about whom he trains with or what their sex is. Nor is any other video among the four videos about how their coaches are tougher than the athletes themselves.
So we decided to give a tutorial to Tata Salt, to train them in this sports for making-promotional-videos-using-athletes. Our tagline for this campaign is #penkewaastey because if not for the ‘pen-drive’ you cannot interview athletes. So this is how you do it. It’s a very low budget production and doesn’t need any lighting or multi-camera shoot. All you have to do is, go to the sportsperson, ask him or her to speak about their game. If you are a jovial commentator like the one in the video, you can indeed have bouts of comedy without thinking too much about whose salt ate whom. Tata Salt ad filmmakers, learn it from these children, please.
Rana Safvi, a historian and founder of the #shaair platform on Twitter was recently visiting Haji Public School, in Breswana, Jammu and Kashmir. That’s where she shot this delightful little video where girls and boys are playing cricket together.
Samir, the young and slick commentator interviews player Varsha after she returns from the field.
Rana: Can you please tell us what match this is?
Sameer: Maybe this time they will win because last time a player was very angry and had performed very poorly, this time may be they will win.
[To Varsha] You had batted right?
Sameer: [To Varsha] How and why were you out when you were not supposed to be out? What do you feel, in the beginning who was winning and what toppled it?
Varsha: I knew from the beginning that Amjad’s team will win the match and that we would lose because our team was not that prepared…and when Tazim came in the end, he was tired to the core and could not play much and I also did not get an opportunity to play.
Sameer: Very good…They are now practising how to do a ‘pen drive’.
Rana: What drive is ‘pen drive’?
Sameer: That by which a laptop is charged… and then it takes power…and connection becomes all right and…
And then presumably life in high-octane, high-altitude sports continues, because this is where the video ends.
Look ma, no sexism in coverage of sports.