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  Entertainment   Bollywood  04 Nov 2018  Notice the absurd

Notice the absurd

Published : Nov 4, 2018, 12:06 am IST
Updated : Nov 4, 2018, 12:06 am IST

Big B was served a notice by the Bar Council of Delhi for dressing up as a lawyer in a spice company advertisement.

Actor Amitabh Bachchan is once again in the eye of a storm over his attire as a lawyer in an ad.
 Actor Amitabh Bachchan is once again in the eye of a storm over his attire as a lawyer in an ad.

It’s ordinary, not high on creativity, and utterly uncontroversial. Yet, quite clearly the larger and more debilitating problems that India faces are of no consequence to its lawmakers if one were to mull over the recent notice sent to actor Amitabh Bachchan due to an advertisement. Big B was served a notice by the Bar Council of Delhi for dressing up as a lawyer in a spice company advertisement. Not just to the legend, who like hundreds of others, portray different people, professions and circumstances in their professional capacity, but the notice was also sent to the spice company, YouTube (for airing it) and a media house.

“Due precautions were not taken,” the notice states, warning those involved about legal action for airing the ad without authority. “You are required to immediately stop all such advertisements and also give an undertaking to the Bar Council of Delhi, Bar Council of India and other states Bar Councils that the lawyers’ attire shall not be used in any advertisement in future,” the notice read.

Even in the science of the stupid, such ridiculous accusations might not muster any debate. In a country crying from a lack of accountability and justice, be it the CBI-Asthana case or innumerable others, it not just takes away from important and critical issues, it also brings to light how futile it is to expect a sense of cognizance in our laws, especially when such ridiculous notices are sent.

A lawyer, on condition of anonymity feels that the facts are insufficient, and asks, “What specifically are they objecting to? The attire? Or that he was in a masala ad? Or that it was of an objectionable context? How is it insulting the profession? Prima facie, it seems incredible that a bar representative body will object to the use of a dress as such instances have been happening for donkey’s years... and nobody has objected.”

The lawyer (who has yet to see the ad) refers to an earlier avatar of Big B in Pink, adding, “If that is the scene from Pink... it’s beautiful... shows lawyers in a good light. If anything, it’s good publicity. If the bar council is helping the Masala company get free marketing by drawing eyeballs to the ad... well it’s worked in their favour!”

The Bar Council also asked the respondents to give an undertaking in 10 days, failing which action will be taken. As the entire fabric of the Indian diaspora reels from serious accusations of #metoo, incessant and endless corruption. this might be a way to divert the attention of a fickle public to something else.

The commercial shows Amitabh Bachchan sitting on a desk, wearing a lawyer’s black coat in what appears to be a film shooting. Two junior artists enter offering him pav bhaji. The actor praises the food, thanks to the spices he is endorsing. How offensive can that be? Another lawyer exclaims, “The Bar Council might have way too much time on their hands to be indulging in such trivial and baseless issues. Entirely stupid.”

Almost everyone is also tired of the sensationalising in the media. Philomena Peris, former chairperson Karnataka State Women’s Commission says, “News is going crazy, and much of what we see is so biased and hollow very often.” On the same note, Apurv Nagpal, visiting faculty, IIM-A adds, “I wish the media would stop covering such inane, self-serving and publicity-seeking stunts. We seem to have become a very sensitive nation - everyone’s sentiments get hurt at the drop of a hat! And don’t our courts have more serious issues to debate? Justice delayed is justice denied!”

The lawyer adds, “These days, everyone is getting hassled about one thing or another. Anger is the new fad. Laughter is no more the sought-after emotion.”

Creativity often finds itself up against such issues. Sandalwood director KM Chaitanya says in disbelief, “I don’t think anybody should insult any profession. But having said that, in cinema, when a person wears a policeman’s dress and he plays a villain, it’s not a comment on the police in general. It is just a character. We all understand it is not real. We know that Amitabh Bachchan is an actor and he isn’t a lawyer! So there is no need to get over sensitive about such things. If we start getting over-sensitive about these things there will be no creativity left.”

Not that the council seems to dwell on ground realities, when there are more trivial matters to bury their heads into, even as the masala company is probably laughing its way to the bank.

In the trivial pursuit of law
Similar incidents in the past...

  • An FIR was registered against Amitabh Bachchan, Madhuri Dixit and Preity Zinta, who appeared in an international food brand advertisement.
  • A jewellery advertisement featuring Amitabh Bachchan and his daughter Shweta Bachchan was withdrawn after legal action was threatened against them for portraying bank employees in a negative light.
  • Delhi government issued legal notice to Badhaai Ho team for tobacco promotion in the film.

Tags: amitabh bachchan, big b, youtube, bar council of delhi, media house