Because today is both Purim and Holi, here’s an amazing “Bollywood” video made by an Israeli arms company to promote Indian sales which they showed on large screens at a recent government sponsored military trade fair in India. What’s the connection to these holidays? Watch the clip and you’ll come away convinced that the people who made it were both drunk and stoned:
Every element of the promotional film is just plain wrong. The sari-clad, “Indian” dancers look all too ashkenaz and zaftig. The unshaven, hawk-nosed, leather-clad leading man appears to be a refugee from You Don’t Mess With the Zohan. Then of course, there’s the implication that the Indian military is somehow like a helpless woman who “need(s) to feel safe and sheltered.” [link]
The whole thing is amazingly crappy from start to finish, not mention the annoying chorus of “Dinga dinga, dinga dinga, dinga dinga, dinga dinga dee.” I don’t get why they couldn’t have hired a real Bolly composer, choreographer and item girls. It wouldn’t have cost them much.
Despite the cheapness of the video, this isn’t some small time company, and they’re not newcomers to the Indian market. It was Rafael Advanced Defense Systems’ Barak SAM missile that was at the heart of the 2000 bribery scandal exposed by Tehelka. Two years ago, they signed a $330 million dollar deal to codevelop the Barak II, and just 6 months ago they became part of India’s biggest defense joint venture with a foreign company.
So why was this video, intended “to help build familiarity between India and Israel and Rafael” [link] both so cheap and so dreadful? My only guess is that they learned from the 2000 arms deal that while symbolic gestures are good, the only thing that really matters are gifts of cold hard cash.