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Advertising is often equated with hypnosis. The ad makers use subliminal messaging in targeted advertisements to gently coerce the public into buying their product or service.

In the united states, and consequently all over the world, cigarettes are one such prime example. A ‘product’ whose only purpose is to kill you slowly, was once promoted even by doctors.

There were posters of patients being ‘prescribed’ cigarettes. Men were told that only the brave dare to smoke, while women were given a slimmer, more ‘elegant’ version. Once the public started to become aware of the hazards of smoking, the geniuses of the marketing world figured out another ploy, using, of course, one of the many psychological tricks they have at their disposal; the ‘death wish’, a unique freudian concept.Affected moved point play I remember in my childhood of the ‘marlboro man’, climbing K2, the most dangerous mountain in the world, and then for some reason start smoking a marlboro.


However, though the tobacco industry ultimately originates from the US and israel, there are certain laws there put in place by the government. No tobacco shop is allowed near a school, and there is actual jail time if any are sold to a minor. The cigarettes are also ridiculously overpriced (a packet costs close to two thousand rupees). Most western governments have gone to the extent of banning public smoking. However, in the capitalist world, the ‘dollar sign’ is king, and many other methods are used, such as ‘big bad’ stars smoking in hollywood.

I never thought I was a good material for modelling.Affected moved point play modelling entirely focused on looks and glamour while as an actor, I have felt the excitement of portraying complex and complicated characters. If looks mattered so much, then dilip kumar, SRK or anthony quinn would not have risen from the ranks of extras. In the actors’ community, models have been dismissed as ‘pretty boys’.

I had seen some successful models trying acting and failing badly. However, I realised later that anyone could be presented as ‘stunning’, ‘glamorous’ or ‘pretty’ with skilful makeup, good camerawork with the appropriate lenses and filters and the right camera angles. This was when I stepped into the world of ad-makers.

Karachi. I am on a hectic schedule, shooting three serials at the same time. Often waking up at 5 am to no water, I would many times be shooting for more than 18 hours straight, perspiring in the suffocating heat of july.Affected moved even fans were not allowed during shoots (other fans were kept at bay as well by the production guys). When the director shouted ‘action’; a race started for finishing the shot before the scorching lights made your sweat start pouring on your face. There was even a special guy who would come running with ice and cloth to dab on your face but timeout had to be called quite often. One such night, when I returned to my apartment, exhausted and sweaty, I got a call from a talent agency, one of the biggest, which recruited models for ad agencies. They asked me to come over for a portfolio shoot.

This is the power of art. Of drama. This is why I am involved in them in the first place. When people ask why I do theatre when there’s no money or fame in it, I give one genuine reply.Affected moved point play if even one person is affected or moved, if the point of the play gets through to even one person, then I have done my job

I was pleased as I needed the money to pay for my expenses in karachi and knew that the ad people pay much better. I was intrigued as well. I went over the next day during my shoot’s lunch break. It was indeed a different world. People were educated, gave respect and seemed to know what they were doing. I noted that they gave attention to every detail. The make-up, the clothes, the lighting, all were done by expert professionals. They said they will let me know when there is an opportunity. Days went by and I almost stopped waiting for that call. Then about a month later, the call came. “are you interested in doing an ad for a cooking oil brand?Affected moved the money they offered for a day’s shoot was more than my whole shoot for a serial. How could I say no?”

The people from TV production don’t treat you badly but the ads people treat you like a prince. Top class accommodation, the chauffeur picking you up at the promised time and the shoot starting and ending at the exact time.

You looked around to ask for a cup of tea and a dozen spot boys would come to serve you. I was asked to dance to a catchy tune along with my co-star while the food was being cooked, and then happily eat it, continuing with the dancing. Used to the method acting rules, I struggled to figure out the motivation for a husband and wife dancing while eating food.

The ‘kebabs’ I had to enjoy eating were stone cold but I had to dance to the director’s tune and smile too.Affected moved unlike in the theatre or TV world, here I was not told about the backstory of the character or the personality, instead, the director was telling me to raise my smile a bit from the right, lower it from the left, not to mention the importance of showing teeth. I enjoy dancing and wanted to show my skills but I was given very specific instructions to dance so many steps to the right and so many to the left.

A TV director would be appalled at the number of reels or tapes consumed for 30 seconds or 1-minute commercial. It was amusing to see take after take being shot, scores of people purposelessly running around, all to impress the representative of the corporate client.

The commercial ran on every channel, even the papers. I never knew commercials had such impact.Affected moved people congratulated me as if I had won an oscar. I was recognised everywhere, the fan number multiplied. In one instance, I went to a local barber, a small shop by the roadside.

As I got up from my chair to pay, a man got up, and insisted he pays the 50 rupees charge. I was moved. But I realised there were two conflicting expectations from me. There were those who loved my plays but hated the interruptions of the ads. And there were those who loved watching the ads and were not interested in the plays in between. I was told that during the times of the PTV monopoly, a drama serial had a huge impact, touching every viewer. The advertisers would queue up outside the PTV marketing office to book a slot. How the tables had turned.

Now it was the advertisers who dictated the kind of drama they wanted the viewers to watch.Affected moved ads were not made to be shown in between the plays, it was the plays which were made for telecast in between the ads. How mighty the ads machine had become. TV, radio, press, magazines, billboards, an ads campaign is planned with full research about the target audience, strategically timed and paced. People love their favourite stars, they obey their leaders… but they do what the ad makers want them to do. Buy the product they are told to buy, even if they don’t need it, even if they can’t afford it. They are hypnotised as the marketing manuals claim!

But the fan-fare is quite amusing for a young actor like me. In another hilarious instance, I was crossing the army check post over at the fortress stadium in lahore, when one of the jawans looked at my ID, and recognised me from a play.Affected moved point play smiling, I asked how did he like it, to which he replied ‘ play to acha tha, magar aap ka part acha nahi tha’ (the play was good, but your role wasn’t). A bit taken aback, I asked what didn’t he like, still smiling. His exact response was: ‘ apnay ma baap kay saath koi aisa karta hai bhala?’ (is this how one behaves with one’s parents?). I was in fits. But it shows how actors can touch their audience, move them, impact them.

This is the power of art. Of drama. This is why I do them in the first place. When people ask why I do theatre when there’s no money or fame in it, I give one genuine reply. If even one person is affected or moved, if the point of the play gets through to even one person, then you have done you’re the job. Then, for a split second, you believe you can actually change the world.Affected moved point play

The writer is a director/actor; and a core member of ajoka theatre pakistan. He has been involved in spreading awareness on socio-political issues through theatre