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Friday, October 31, 2008

Aamir and the lovely Gul in Tata Sky Plus Ad

When the teasers were running (Aamir Khan doing all the housework) I was wondering what product is? Now that I know, I'm more than pleased to also find the charming Gul Panag as Aamir's better half in the TVC.

The agency is O&M and this is one of the better ads that Aamir has been seen in (he is usually too full of himself).

Aamir tries to act as a 'good' husband waking his wife - Gul Panag - in the morning, making a breakfast of scrambled eggs, slightly burnt toast and carrot juice and also packing her lunch. Checks the fridge for necessities annd gets them on the way back from work. Also offers to make the evening tea... all to watch a cricket match that clashes with a Saas-Bahu serial.

But Tata Sky Plus hain naa... isko laga dala to life aur bhi jhingalala.

Download video [00:01:06 FLV 1.51 MB]

Tata Sky+ is a DTH personal video recorder service that allows users to record, pause and rewind live TV (wonder when will we able able to fast forward it) and the hardware (Digicomp) costs Rs 8,999 plus installation and other charges. I'll wait a while for the prices to drop.

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Cutting the Chai: Now Widgetised

Cutting the Chai WidgetNow you can embed your customised Cutting the Chai widget at (almost) any place online - blog, Twitter, Facebook, iGoogle, iPhone, Netvibes, Pageflakes, Windows Live...

In case you also need this blog on your fridge door - print this page and use a magnet to stick it there.

Powered by Grazr, I found it to be a worthwhile enhancement for this blog.

Cutting the Chai

Click on the 'Share' link on the widget to do whatever you want to do with it. You can also customise the look and feel.

Or if you have a weakness for blocks of code, here it is:

Adjust the dimensions (and other stuff) if you need to.

The above widget displays only the consolidated feed for all the latest posts on Cutting the Chai. But many of you might have a preference for only a/some specific flavours. You can get a widget to display only those posts filed under a particular label/category of your choice. Pick your pick from the dropdown list below.

And I hope that some people might yet just prefer the good old way of physically visiting webpages.

Click here for the complete post...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Wanted: Debonair Girls

The 'Debonair' here is not to be confused with the adult blog, but the once 'revered' monthly men's magazine. This advertisement from the November 1987 issue invites girls to pose for Debonair magazine.

[Click to enlarge]
Ad for Debonair magazine models
Show the world what you really are.

How often have you stared at yourself in a mirror - admired your beautiful features and figure - and wished you could let people see the way you really are? Now's your chance. We are looking for models for our colour photofeatures. The photographs will be shot by internationally renowed photographers like Adam Steven, Swapan Mukherjee and Chien Wien Lee. Selected models will be paid handsomely. Many of our models have launched into exciting careers in films and advertising from our pages. Why not you? Send two recent photographs (full length in a bikini and a closeup of the face) to The Editor, Debonair Publications Pvt Ltd, 41A, Dr E Moses Road, Worli, Bombay 400 018, mentioning your vital statistics, height, weight and age.

Be a Debonair girl.
Let people see the real you.

Magazines like Debonair found it difficult to get models for their pages and therefore perhaps needed to advertise to find some willing candidates.

Vinod Mehta, Editor-in-Chief, Outlook Group, commenting on the news about Playboy launching an India edition:

Despite their deep-pockets that have lured Olympic stalwarts to become Playboy bunnies, the magazine will not be able to get high class girls from India to go nude, because of the taboo attached to it. This was a problem we faced even at Debonair!
The present avatar of Debonair doesn't seem to feature any topless models and has also toned down its content. But the glory days of the magazine are long over.

A couple of interesting bits (the more interesting in bold) about Debonair magazine that I found online:

Vinod Mehta, Editor-in-Chief, Outlook Group (in an interview with
I was extremely lucky because I began my career as an editor at the age of 27. Not many people get this opportunity, and it’s a double-edged sword. I began as an editor because I met Sushil Somani who used to run Debonair and he was on the lookout for an editor. At that time and there were two homosexuals who used to run Debonair, a girlie magazine - self-professed homosexuals. When I looked at the magazine, instead of women I saw men in jock straps, and there were more pretty men in the magazine than there were pretty women!

So I had to learn how to redesign the magazine. Nobody would agree to be interviewed; nobody would agree to write for us. I had to beg people. And Pataudi was the first person I thought of because I wanted to start the Playboy interview kind of thing. Pataudi was quite big at that time and he agreed for the interview. Since no one was prepared to write for Debonair at that time, I wrote four articles under different names in the first issue just to show people how I wanted the magazine to develop. I started from there, and then we had people like Nissim Ezekiel writing for us; I discovered Iqbal Masood; Anil Dharkar started contributing regularly.

But there was always something sleazy associated with the magazine. I could put any amount of "intellectual" or what I thought was good literary material but I could not change the image of the magazine. Mr Vajypyee gave us an interview and when I met him later to thank him, he told me, "I had to keep your magazine under my pillow." That’s the day I decided to quit. In the seven years that I had been there I could not change the way the magazine was perceived. I conceded defeat.

Interestingly Mr Mehta doesn't have a single copy of the magazine that readers don't forget to remind him of whenever Outlook does a sex special.
Since, like most journalists, I don’t keep a record of any articles, I have no idea what I’ve written since my Debonair days. In fact, I do not have a single issue of Debonair.

Busybee aka Behram Contractor (in one of his columns):
Then one day we he was to become the editor of a magazine that was to be brought out on the lines of Playboy or Esquire. It was to be called Debonair.

The count did become the editor; he used to bring proofs of articles for the magazine to the Society Bar and edit them with a gold ballpoint pen. And he used to complain softly about the lack of knowledge of England of his Indian contributors.

He himself used to write: on what to wear, how to mix drinks, what after-shave lotions to use, etc. The readers did not much care and Debonair almost closed down. In those days also magazines used to close down, though not magazines of the reputation of the Illustrated Weekly and Filmfare. The count was sacked. In those days also editor got sacked, though not editors of the calibre of Vinod Mehta.

And it was this same Vinod Mehta that proprietor Sushil Somani picked on as his new editor. Mr Mehta made it more Playboy and less Esquire. Which was clever: because Debonair started acquiring an ever widering readership among males in little towns in Punjab, Haryana, UP and Bihar, and in Delhi, Monthly, the letters column would be filed with debates among readers on whether the semi-dressed girl on the centrefold in, August was better than the one in July or worse than the one in June.

Mr Mehta's office was in the middle of Claridges Press on Mint Road, next to Sacru's City Kitchen, and he sat in it with walls covered with five years of his centrefolds. That was the nearest Mr Mehta got to his pin-ups, though everybody thought he was having a ball of a time.

Mr Mehta's successor, young Anil Dharkar, got somewhat nearer the models. Occassionally he would pose with them. And sometimes his pictures would appear without the models.

His successor, Dilip Thakore, took himself, his job, and the magazine too seriously. He tried to put Debonair in a slot between Business India and Business World. In doing so, he not only lost his job but poor Sushil Somani lost his magazine.

Now, after 18 years, there is a new proprietor and an editor who was the de facto editor all these years. The circle has been complete, from the count to Adil Jussawalla.

Click here for the complete post...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Deluxe Nirodh (In Pink)

This blog first saw a spurt in its pageviews in July-August 2006 thanks to a post titled Rubbers of India, something that has now developed into a complete section.

And when we talk of rubbers of India, the first brand that comes to mind is Nirodh.

It was the revelation of the underlying meaning of the classic "Pyar hua iqrar hua, pyar se phir kyon darta hain dil (Love happened, acceptance happened. Why does the heart then fear love?)," with the addition "Deluxe Nirodh aath aane mein teen (Deluxe Nirodh/condoms three for 50 paise)," that I became aware of the existence of the rubber sheath. The ad has the greatest recall value amongst all contraceptive advertisements in India. We kids loved it and put a price on our classmates, 50p for 3 - cheap. But one condom cost soft drink major Pepsi dear - Rs 1,23,000 to be precise.

A Deluxe Nirodh ad that I found in a June 1992 issue of Filmfare (it was then Rs 1.50 for five).

Deluxe Nirodh Print Ad
Deluxe Nirodh
Now available in pink
Rs 1.50 for five
The right condom for spacing your family

Related posts:· Innovative Condom Photography
· Kamasutra: The Adventures of Rani Bonkeshwari
· KS Roleplay Ads
· Moods Please!
· What's Your Flavour of the Night?
· Big B in Durex Condom Ad
· Love with the Lights On
· What's Wrong with This Ad?
· Rubbers of India - II
· Rubbers of India

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Mallika Sherawat Before She Became Mallika Sherawat

Mallika Sherawat (previously known as Reema Lamba) dabbled a bit in modelling, before the 17-kiss-disaster Khwaish (2003).

The following advertisement (quite sombre and modest by Mallika's present standards) is from the December 1999 issue of Zee Premiere.

Mallika Sherawat early print ad
When fashion goes beyond the ordinary...
Womenswear, Menswear, Kidswear, Accessories
D-1, South Extension Part II, New Delhi - 49
Tel: 6258188, 6257085
15 MG Road, Bangalore
Tel: 5597888, 5585519
Visit us at:

Related posts:· Desi Girls Climb Up's Top 99 Ladder

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Cutting the Chai via SMS

Cutting the Chai via SMSIn addition to the existing RSS/Atom feeds and Email alerts you can now subscribe to Cutting the Chai updates via SMS (courtesy Google SMS Channels).

You can either go here and do the needful (need to have a Google account) or

'ON CuttingtheChai'
to 9870807070

You'll then receive a confirmation message and the last message posted on CuttingtheChai channel.

There are also provisions to fine tune the delivery of SMSes (time, quantity etc) as per your requirements.

And yes, it's free (you might need to pay - standard rates - for the subscription SMS if you are registering via phone).

If you have any further queries, you'll find the answers here.

Click here for the complete post...

Sachin, Sunny and a Nice Song

SRT is India's biggest superstar. There's no doubt about it. And he has further fortified his iconic status overshadowing Brian Lara's mammoth 11,953 Test runs total.

Being a superstar it is obvious that he would have endorsed many a brand. And amidst the all high profile endorsements Sachin Tendulkar also appeared in ads for Bajaj Sunny - the scooterette (This was before the record Rs 31.5 crore deal with WorldTel).

To celebrate Sachin's (yet another) record here's the ad that I found in a February 1994 issue of The Sportstar.

Sachin Tendulkar in a print ad for Bajaj Sunny
"Ride the red hot super looker teen machine"
- Sachin Tendulkar
Bajaj Sunny
55 KMPL · 50 CC · No Gears · Easy Kick Start · Spare Wheel · Price Rs 12,000 (ex-showroom price Delhi)
Bajaj Auto Ltd
Akrudi, Pune 411035

Agency: Lintas

And the nice Bajaj Sunny Zip TVC with the nice song (this doesn't have Sachin in it).

Download video [00:00:47 FLV 1.01 MB]
Download hi-res video [00:00:47 AVI 4.84 MB]
Download for mobile [00:00:47 3GP 928 KB]

The ringtone/audio only version:

Download ringtone [MP3 707 KB 00:00:45 128kbps Stereo 44 kHz]

First you say you're always with me,
Because being with me is fun.
Say you'll go the whole distance,
Since the love that you found.
All right. Come on, what's going on?
What you're thinkin'?
Then you say you need me,
Like the garden needs rain.
Then you go and deceive me,
Like it's all in the game...
All in the game.

Easy come. Easy Go
Bajan Sunny Zip

If I'm not mistaken the agency behind this ad is Contract Advertising and it got them an Abby gold in 1997.

Click here for the complete post...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Review: Foldable USB Speakers (Tech-Com SSD-510U)

Most laptop don't usually boast of robust sound and therefore external accessories like headphones/earphones or a set of speakers become a necessity for an optimal listening experience.

But then laptop are meant to be portable but most speakers aren't and earphones don't lend themselves to group listening. So when I came across this set of USB powered speakers from Tech-Com (SSD-510U), I was immediately interested. Did a bit of testing and bought it home (as an additional accessory for my Asus Eee PC 1000H).

The biggest advantage is the size and the fact that it folds into two (like a clamshell) to make itself even more portable (see images below).

It doesn't need a driver in modern operating systems (though it comes equipped with a CD) to run and you can simply plug in to your USB post and listen. And also has a little stand to help keep it upright. But there is always a chance of misplacing the little stand.

The sound quality isn't that great, but better than most in-built laptop speaker output (and louder too, but not party loud). It is also more of treble and less of bass. If it is bass that gives you the boost, then this might not be the best choice.

Moreover it doesn't come with volume controls so all the controlling has to be done through the laptop/PC.

Tech-Com USB Speakers
Open and plugged in (notice the red right glowing). Compared to a DVD.

Tech-Com USB Speakers
Closed. The stand and a DVD lie besides.

Tech-Com USB Speakers
Held in the palm of my hand for a better idea of the size.

Being USB powered means that it is a bit different from other speakers that you plug into the headphones socket. If you are listening to something while you plug the USB speakers, the sound wouldn't get transferred from your internal speakers to the external speakers. For that you have to shut the application and restart it again. A small pain.

But for a price of Rs 400 (the printed price reads Rs 699), it seems paisa-wasool.

The packaging says 460 Watts PMPO and doesn't mention any RMS rating. PMPO is dubious, we all know that. And it is manufactured in China.

If you aren't very finicky about the quality of your sound and are looking for portable speakers that you can carry around in your laptop bag, it might be a worthwhile purchase. But the timbre conscious might have to look elsewhere.

[Dealer details: Spiral Systems & Networks, 120 Mansarovar, 90 Nehru Place, New Delhi 110019 | Phone +91 11 2629 2660 | Mobile +91 11 1126 6280]

Click here for the complete post...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Stupid Profile Names on Orkut

Orkut profileTo say that Orkut is popular here in India would be a gross understatement. And since it is popular you cannot afford to stay away from it (for long) and especially if you are in the online business you just cannot afford to.

Thanks to so many people being in there I'm now in (remote) touch with a number of old friends.

But I get flummoxed when I get a scrap from someone called "IM oN tHE 7tH HeAVen aNd In NO mOdd 2 GEt DoWn." Good for you buddy if you're there and I wish you'd stay there but at the same time I'd also like some clues towards your real, non CrAzY cased identity?

I then go snooping to the scrappers profile and try to hunt for clues - common friends, photos, videos, scraps, testimonials. Usually I make a good guess, but often am left clueless.

To many this might seem cool, but it actually defies the real purpose of social networking. One your identity gets camouflaged (unless it is a deliberate act) and someone looking for you there by your name wouldn't find you in the search results. And when you scrap someone, he/she would be left wondering.

Some clever chaps have found a way out, they insert their names in some other field, eg city, and hence get featured in the profile search results.

Maybe Orkut should give these bacchas some other field where they can let their creative energies roam free while I get to know who is scrapping me.

Thankfully, my Facebook friend's list is still sane. Maybe because Facebook emphasises on the 'real name'. Or are my Facebook friends saner than my Orkut ones? Or people tend to be proper on Facebook and go crazy on Orkut? Maybe I'm getting old?

Click here for the complete post...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Preview Multimedia Files While Downloading

How often did you blindly download a large multimedia files (video, movie, audio, music) from the internet (especially file sharing websites) and found that the quality or the content wasn't what you had expected?

And you might have kept your PC on for hours and used considerable bandwidth (especially if you have a pay-as-you-use internet connection), not to mention the time you had to waste to check the status of the download (I often happened to find my files in some undecipherable language).

Some download accelerators do have a feature to preview the multimedia files being downloaded but then many of us might have a preference for other download accelerators, that sadly don't have such a preview feature. Moreover many sites restrict downloading through download accelerators.

This simple trick will let you preview the initial portions of the file even while it is being downloaded (advanced users please excuse the elaboration).

On many other sites (like you needn't follow the process and the files tend to play easily even while they are downloading. This post is more targeted towards previewing while downloading from sites such as Rapidshare, Sharedzilla and the like.

I'm still on Windows XP, therefore am not sure whether the steps involved would be the same on other operating systems too (It is still the most used).

Browser Download

This doesn't seem to work on Internet Explorer and Google Chrome (though you may give it a try). Therefore this is Firefox specific (didn't test on other less popular browsers).

If you don't have Firefox, get it. Chrome still has some catching up to do.

Before you initiate this (ignore this step if file extensions are visible) open any folder > on the File menu go to Tools > Click on Folder Options > Select the View Tab > Under Advanced Settings deselect the 'Hide extensions of known file types' check box > Click Apply - OK.

This will help us in the steps to follow.

Now download the file you wish you using Firefox. In the folder that the file is being download you'll find two files bearing similar file names, but one will bear an additional .part extension.

Now create a new folder and copy/paste the file with the .part extension into it. If you don't want to create a new folder you can paste the file in any folder other than the one that it is being downloaded in.

Then rename the file (right click, or two left clicks but with a pause in between, or from the right click context menu) to remove the .part extension. Now your file is ready for preview.

This might involve a number of steps, but I find it better than spending hours downloading something that I'd then have to delete.

Downloads via Download Manager

If you're using a download manager/accelerator (many sites don't support download accelerators) then in the folder that the file is getting downloaded to you might similarly find another file with the same fie name but an additional extension (the extension might differ from accelerator to accelerator).

In my preferred download manager Orbit - it is .ob!.

Follow the steps mentioned above and happy previewing.

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Topless Model in Indian Print Ad

Initially thought that it would have made for a good post on All Fools' Day, but then realised that such tricks are no longer a novelty.

Admit it.
You've always been crazy about topless models.
Mahindra Classic
The call of the wild

Mahindra & Mahindra's jeeps are very popular in the hills that I grew up in (alongwith Willys) and also in Bhopal where I studied for a while. They also used to be the staple mode of transport for police around the country before the Maruti Gypsy and other subsequent models came in.

The M&M Classic was launched in 1996 and still (it been quite a few years since M&M took off the model from Indian showrooms) has a considerable fan following. It is one of those cult vehicles. Needless to say, I also wanted to own one.

Click here for the complete post...

Thursday, October 02, 2008

No Smoking (Also No Drinking or Eating)

Smoking Ban Ad

Starting today
Smoking in public places
I don't have anything against the new anti-smoking regulation (Prohibition of Smoking in Public Places Rules, 2008) but one clause seems a little overboard:

Rule 4(3):
A smoking area or space shall be used only for the purpose of smoking and no other service(s) shall be allowed. [PDF link]

It technically means that when you smoke, you smoke, don't eat or drink.

And I hate those photos of ministers (and other political leaders) appearing in all government ads. Their face value actually have a diminising effect on the message.

Related post:

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

'Evil' Afterimagery Ads

Look at the image below. It might be a little difficult to identify the 'evil' face in there. Let us make the identification easier. Believe me, it'll be fun.

There is a red cross on the image, stare at it for about 30 seconds and then tilt your head back and stare at the ceiling, slowly blinking your eyes. The face would appear and then fade away.

Amnesty International - See No Evil?

If you haven't experienced it before, you might find it fun or even spooky.

Found this on Ads of the World and it is a part of a 'See no evil?' series of print ads developed by LINs Advertising & Marketing, Malayasia for Amnesty International.

Those you have seen the ad feel that the ad should have come with instructions to do what we just did.

Here's the series for you to strain your eyes on:

Amnesty International - See No Evil?

Amnesty International - See No Evil?

Amnesty International - See No Evil?

Amnesty International - See No Evil?

Amnesty International - See No Evil?

Hope you recognised all the five 'evil' apparitions. If not, they are - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, US President George W Bush, Chinese President Hu Jintao, North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

The reason why this happens? Just as when you look at a bright light for a while and then look away you see a black spot. Technically the inverse of the white light. Similarly these images are what we would identify as negative and what we see on turning away is the positive.

In more proper terms it is called an afterimage. Here are a few interesting experiments that exemplify the effect.

1. Four boxes
2. Fish in the bowl
3. Stars and Stripes

Click here for the complete post...