By Soumitra Bose/Mukesh Kumar Sinha
This Rahul is different. This Rahul is also daring. This Rahul is The Amul Girl guarder. This Rahul is Rahul daCunha, relentlessly carrying on the World Famous Amul wit, comic, shrewdness, ‘please, all’. ‘amuse all’, ‘poke all’, IQ-evoking, IQ-provoking, IQ-teasing, IQ-rattling The Amul Girl. He is daringly, assuredly carrying on the legacy (earlier, his 1-generation-before-alter-ego Sylvester daCunha) of 50 years of The Amul Girl (not Gal as yet!)
For over 50 years, the Amul girl has been commenting on all things, capturing the spirit of India with beguiling charm but certain spoofs and satirical messages got the campaign’s makers into legal wrangles.
Says Rahul daCunha, managing director and creative head of daCunha Communications, the ad agency that creates the Amul outdoor billboards, “In the 21 years that I’ve been the campaign custodian, we’ve poked fun and parodied but never viciously.
“Our spoofs and satirical messages have been welcomed sportingly by both politicians and popular figures, actors and anarchists.”
But, daCunha says, lampooning occasionally has also led the company to the doorsteps of legal process.
Citing a few instances of such ads involving Jagmohan Dalmiya, Suresh Kalmadi, Satyam Computers and Subrata Roy, he says legal notices were served but the ad agency did not relent.
“Fifty years ago, Amul founder Verghese Kurien gave my father, Sylvester daCunha, a free hand that he may create these topical without client approval. That permission and trust have been handed down to me. I too have our Amul client’s backing and blessings,” daCunha says.
His views find mention in a revised and updated edition of the book “Amul’s India”, brought out by HarperCollins India.
Since the first publication of this book in 2012, many news events have impacted us – the coming to power of Narendra Modi, the FIFA fever that gripped the nation, the rise of a younger brigade of stars, newer scams and controversies – and the Amul girl has kept pace with all that and more,” says Alpana Parida, president of DY Works which has created the book.
“In this scenario, the second edition of the book had to be more than a mere reprint. It had to be updated with new material. We have brought out some more classics from the archives. We have features on new topics, telling the story of an evolving India as seen from the Amul moppet’s eyes,” Parida says.
The new edition has takes on the Amul campaign by the likes of Amitabh Bachchan, Shyam Benegal, Shobhaa De, Rahul Dravid, Sania Mirza and Harsha Bhogle among others. There is a special section called “Starstruck” which mentions about hoardings that featured Bollywood stars like Salman Khan, Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone and Ranbir Kapoor.
Say Amul-eaters in joint chorus :“Happy millennium traveling The Amul Girl, U’ll always be Amul-provider. …Thanks indeed.”