Witerati: Oscar ooh-la-la to dance diplomacy

ByChetna Keer
Mar 26, 2023 01:33 AM IST

On the heels of India’s victorious Oscar outing come not only dance diplomacy, but also billboards’ brush with brand new poster people

If the streets of Purani Dilli seem to be in the throes of earth-shaking moments of late, blame it not on the quake tremors that took the Capital unawares recently.

A billboard featuring Oscar winner Kartiki Gonsalves and Guneet Monga. (Photo: Chetna Keer)
A billboard featuring Oscar winner Kartiki Gonsalves and Guneet Monga. (Photo: Chetna Keer)

Blame it, rather credit it, on that adrenalin-high aftermath, that heady hangover called Oscar ooh-la-la.

If our boisterous bylanes are doing their bit for bilateral ties, credit it on foreign envoys’ earth-shaking events, rather leg-shaking action. Dance diplomacy.

From German Ambassador Philipp Ackermann to Korean envoy Chang Jae-bok, the world’s Who’s Who as much as many a Chinese Hu Hu have been shaking a leg or two to Naatu Naatu. What better stage for the German Embassy’s grooving ‘n’ gyrating flash mob than that teeming-screaming miniature metropolis that is Old Delhi.

If back-of-beyond bylanes are where the benchmarks for brand new ‘brand ambassadors’ of India Shining are, then look no further.

If this writerly ode too looks like an Oscar overdose, so be it. When the whole world is going ga-ga or overboard, what’s one little overdose.

While recently threading through one of Old Delhi’s commercial hubs, a curious confluence of chaos and commotion meets crazy colour, mapped by micro alleys as mini as the waistlines of a Kriti Sanon to Kiara Advani, one stumbled upon surprise. Not unexpected, but its positioning was unsuspected.

Of lehengas to ‘lajawaab ladkis’

In those bylanes where the brides of India and many a bridesmaid are made, there are wont to jut out like jostling and jarring elbows, at every nudge-choked nukkad, humungous hoardings of filmi dulhaniyas in a Dilli da lehenga.

What sparked the surprise were not the billboards, but their ‘brush’ with brand new faces. This crooked alleyway curling down the belly of Old Delhi now stood dotted, not with billboards brandishing lajawaab lehengas, but the latest ‘lajawaab ladkis’.

The Oscar Poster Girls’ day out on Purani Dilli posters.

Billboards, upon which there had hitherto preened a parade of Bollywood ‘s richie rich royalty, Kareenas to Katrinas, there were now pasted two faces that are the newest metaphor for Middle Class India.

One, a former sales girl at Fab India. The other, whose initial odd jobs entailed selling cheese to playing announcer at PVR.

Billboards, which now screamed the new reality, that the Oscar win has made Team ‘The Elephant Whisperers’ Kartiki Gonsalves and Guneet Monga to Team ‘Naatu Naatu’ the new ad copywriters’ content for India Inc, the new household names, and the new nameplates for India Shining.

The Oscar is thus not only a win for India, it is as much a milestone for Middle Class India.

A win akin to bringing home the cricket World Cup or an Olympic gold.

Sports is replete with extraordinary success stories wherein ordinary folks have scripted glory at the Olympics or other global platforms. From a North-East tea garden worker’s daughter Lovlina Borgohain to a Haryana cart-puller’s girl Rani Rampal making it to the Olympics stage.

What the Olympics badge of honour is to a Lovlina or a Mirabai Chanu, the Oscar is to Keeravani or Kartiki.

There are cinematic odes galore to such rags-to-riches narratives, to the triumph-of-the-commoner templates. Be it a ‘Chak De! India’ or a ‘Slumdog Millionaire’.

Sometimes, Art imitates Life. Sometimes, Life imitates Art. Finally, Life comes full circle, like a gold ka ‘kadaa’.

From a girl whose late father once sold his gold ‘kadaa’ to fund her first school excursion to the USA to her bringing back from America the dream golden statuette, Guneet epitomises that inspirational middle-class narrative of grit to gold.

As I ambled past those billboards of the new Poster Girls of Purani Dilli, the current czarinas of Chandini Chowk, it was with a heartwarming sentiment. With Hope rebooted, that the dreams of Middle Class India come mounted on a gilt-edged frame, and boast a new non-botoxed billboard sheen of sweat-sparkled skin.

The curious case of Chak De, Middle India!

Story Saved
Live Score
Saved Articles
My Reads
My Offers
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Thursday, June 01, 2023
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Register Free and get Exciting Deals