We at Cafe Pyala have sometimes been accused (unfairly) of cynicism. But none of our pointed barbs can ever hope to plumb the depths of shameless opportunism that the following two commercials currently running on our television screens demonstrate.
Here's Habib Oil Mills and part of the late Madam Noor Jehan's family - specifically eldest daughter Zille Huma and granddaughter Sonya Jehan nee Rizvi - exploiting the memory of their legendary mother / grandmother to sell... ghee.
Okay, we know that singer Zille Huma and actor Sonya Jehan owe their entire careers to the memory of the illustrious Queen of Melody - Sonya even changed her film industry name to remind people more squarely of her roots - and that another of Madam's daughters, Hina Ejaz Durrani, had also recreated one of her mother's songs for a video sponsored by Mobilink. But boiling down (or should that be frying up?) intimate personal memories to the brand of banaspati the matriarch used looks just a tad like cashing in to me. Especially, especially if this story is not even true. Keep in mind that Dalda Banaspati has been a market leader in the ghee business for ages and the Habib Oil Mills' current position as a major force in the edible oil market has come about only in the last 15 years or so. I'm ready to stand corrected but I'm not even so sure Noor Jehan was such a loyal customer of Habib Banaspati.
The second shamelessly exploitative ad for ghee - what is the deal with hydrogenated oil and shamelessness - features the ever slimy Aamir Liaquat Hussain in a Mezan Banaspati ad that preys on the religious sentiments of the upcoming month of Ramzan.
Does Mezan really need the smug face of a rabid, phoney "doctor" to sell its oil? And isn't this what Aamir Liaquat's been aiming for all his life: making money off religion? He probably made loads from attaching his name to Haj packages but that probably didn't satisfy his desire to have his mug on television. The ad's enough to give anyone indigestion in my opinion.
Actually, I prefer seeing the ending of the alternate version of this ad - which you can see here - in which Mr JaahilOnline tells you about the savings you get (no noble hook about feeding the hungry) and mouths the famous Mezan slogan: "Har cheez Mezan mein achhi lagti hai" (Everything is better in Mezan). It gives me the pleasure of imagining him in a vat of bubbling hot oil.