I’ve been off TV for a while, so this little bundle of joy (NOT) has arrived in my life a little late. It’s the Patanjali Saundarya vs Aishwarya ad that’s been airing for the past month and a half that I’m talking about. It’s a straightforward ad if you want to sum it up in a sentence: ‘Girls, use the Patanjali Saundarya Swarn Kanti cream if you want flawless, pimple-free skin’. But the messaging of the ad as a package is just so mind-bendingly awful that you can’t really do justice to it (or to a lot of women) by doing that one-line summary. For this ad, you see, is also about the ‘Good’ Indian Girl vs the ‘Not-Good’ Indian Girl.
This ad tells the story of two sisters, Saundarya and Aishwarya. Wherein Saundarya is a really good girl, and Aishwarya is just too bindaas for her own good. How can you tell? Because Saundarya is soft-spoken, abides by parampara and doesn’t wear makeup, while Aishwarya is outgoing, likes to have fun and thus is, says the ad, a ‘wannabe type girl’. (???!!!) And this ‘debauched’ lifestyle of Aishwarya’s results in - you guessed it! - PIMPLES!!!
Enter the good sister, Saundarya. Whose skin is glowing brighter every day because of her paaramparik khayalaat and her beauty is garnering her lots of compliments. It is she who comes to the rescue of bindaasi ke wajah se skin-dulled-down Aishwarya. And the ad ends with both sisters being super-happy together and embracing Patanjali Saundarya Swarn Kanti as the ultimate way of life. Basically, as soon as Aishwarya gives up all her aiyashi (a.k.a. smiling a lot, talking to people, wearing makeup, etc.) and is bindaas no longer, she becomes not-so-wannabe and as beautiful as her sister.