As the holy month of Ramzan (yes, I prefer to pronounce it like that) commences, the whole desi populace somehow seems to be jaded into massive consumption of oily absurdities. Every product and almost every service seems hell-bent upon tying its offering with the holy month in the most bizarre ways imaginable. It’s okay, I understand you want to connect with people’s sentiments but you see some products just don’t go with the pious appeal and all.
The month has been commercialized so much that now every single street corner TV channel has a freak show during Seher/Aftar timings. The most atrocious (but certainly not the only one) is the one by Amir Liaqat who prances around on an elaborate Arabic-themed set like a baboon in Lahore Zoo. Dating-basher Maya Khan can’t be left behind in the TRP-frenzy either and therefore it is only natural that she have her own show, however melodramatically appalling it may be. You know, they even had the local Lollywood lantern Meera Ji on the show. I guess that’s enough said.
But the truth is, these atrocities in the name of live transmissions are quite well-suited to the type of out-of-the-can Ramzan communications that many brands choose to produce. Really, what is a Ramzan TVC really made up of? As it turns out, you need 4 basic scenes: an old uncle depicted as grandfather, a table full of food, a prayer shot, and a kid. That’s it folks. That’s all you need. Just be sure to insert your product shot somewhere in between and you’re good to go.
And the word itself: saying Ramadhan instead of Ramzan won’t take you closer to heaven. It’s Ramzan in Urdu, and even Ramjan in some Indian dialect. It doesn’t end here; ‘seher’ is slowly being replaced by Sahoor. And what is with the imagery of Turkish mosques and Lebanese Islamic artifacts? Can somebody explain how a lantern from Middle East (actually from a local prop shop) signifies Ramzan, seeing as it is so widely used in the communication of many brands?
Apart from the obvious winners such as food and media, Ramzan brings with it a sales bonanza for another type of business. And that business is that of sherwani/kurta makers. From shiny, colorful fabrics to relentless elaborate embellishments that are even more shiny, worn by anyone from grown men to naat-reciting little kids, these Ramzan staples are here to stay and make kurta vendors millionaires along the way.
By Syed Aamir Bukhari