I’m always struck by how well made these Public Service Ads are. Ad film making in India is at a seriously evolved level but even back in the day, the PSAs were something else. I’m old enough to remember the national integration ads with celebrities from different walks of life, not to mention the animated features which were absolutely delightful.
Zamana badal gaya, as they say. Times have changed. Now you can get your national unity in a slick format from the house of Bharatbala and PSAs are all about things like disease prevention. There’s the polio campaign, the no smoking campaign and most of all, you have the AIDS campaign.
Version 2.0 of the AIDS campaign is funny, irreverent and very, very important in a country that’s currently leading the world in the total number of people infected with HIV. There’s a statistic I don’t want India to lead. And I know it’s only to be expected in a country with a billion people, but I’m sorry, it’s just not acceptable at a time in history when information is becoming increasingly easy to disperse.
All the Gere-Shetty kiss-kiss nonsense shouldn’t take away from the rising threat of AIDS and the number of orphans it leaves behind each year – to live sad, short ostracized lives or to grow up neglected and alone.
Here’s the one of the original versions of the ad above. You can watch more on Youtube. Just type, “Bindaas Bol”.