Television

Yesteryear actors: Old and still gold

It was in the late 80s that actress Kanchana was seen in prominent films — Jandhyala’s Ananda Bhairavi and Mani Ratnam’s Mouna Raagam , the latter being a blink and a miss appearance as a modestly dressed advocate and since then, despite giving occasional cinema appearances till 1994, her absence in films, events and anything associated with cinema was particularly evident due to the spiritual turn she took in life.

Switch to 2015, there’s a sudden element of sweet nostalgia as you spot her in an OLX commercial, where she sits through the screenings of her older films in a single theatre that screens a re-run of one of her older films and the man who looks at her, sells his phone to click a selfie with the actress later. More than her presence, it was the aptness with which she adds to the old versus new conflict in the advertisement that strikes a wonderful note.

Kanchana claims she was also surprised at the persistent attempt of the makers to approach her.

“I got to know during the shoot that they were keen on casting a senior actress and were looking for an apt choice since a couple of years. Since a series of health issues were plaguing me, I couldn’t allocate more than a day for a shoot in Mumbai. It was more like a chance that I took with the offer to interact with a younger lot from various backgrounds. They took good care of me and were surprised that I didn’t bring any airs from my past into this experience,” she remarks, claiming that it is only a one-off attempt, adding that the message she brings with an appearance is more significant than her presence.

Kanchana’s example sheds several notions about actors of yesteryears being restricted to a certain genre of brands and advertisements. Another advertisement is where Waheeda Rehman smartly picks the last bite of a Cadburys chocolate when everyone else at the table seem to be fighting over it after a family dinner. For all the wile she displays, the granddaughter says, “ Isi liye tum sabki naani ho ,” (That’s why you’re the grandma of all) .

Satish Kasetty, the director of award winning film Hope and Kalavaramaaye Madilo , who has worked in an advertising firm in the past, feels this has to do a lot about public curiosity too.

“Once certain actors disappear from the big screen , there’s a lot of curiosity about what are they doing post their film stints. Even if you know that a certain ad or a film hasn’t received promising responses, you give them some leverage and don’t brush them aside as they have a large body of work for which you respect them,” he states.

Amitabh Bachchan, being a league apart in that zone, has been spearheading the advertisements slot among senior actors for a long while now. However, the actors who make such selective public appearances, like Waheeda Rehman and Kamini Kaushal (for a Sprite advertisement), bring along a surprise factor to the products, a key factor to ensure their popularity. You go on to remember more about the actors than the brand in itself, but the creative side in ensuring their presence does strike a chord subconsciously.

Rajeneesh, an MBA student taking good notice of such interesting developments in the advertisement industry feels this aspect just doesn’t end here. “When you cast them for brands that are exclusive in nature, there’s a trustworthiness that they allow to breathe into the brand. Say the examples of a K Vishwanath or an SPB do add more sanctity into whatever they endorse. Moreover, their past choices reflect a sense of intellectuality which also helps enhance a brand image,” he substantiates.


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Printable version | May 28, 2022 6:24:30 am | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/radio-and-tv/yesteryear-actors-in-television-commercials/article7561812.ece