Amul’s India traces the evolution of Amul girl in a flouncy frock, bouncing
cheeky comments around for almost 50 years now.
The girl in flouncy frock is no stranger to us. We have watched her comment on society, with her tongue firmly in cheek, for decades. We have waited in anticipation when the scaffolding went up; we sometimes even debated on the issue that the Amul girl would be smirking about next. At times it fell flat, yes. But mostly she got it right. Sometimes she ruffled feathers, but mostly she elicited indulgent chuckles. And she did the unthinkable – put a shine on red polka dots and blue hair.
Given that, Amul’s India – a book that traces the evolution of the Amul girl – was long pending. Amul has finally given in, and has brought out a book that ‘celebrates the 50 years of Amul girl’s journey’. It could surely have been made more reader-friendly. Somehow, you can’t shake the feeling that the book is a wee bit too ‘in-house’ for the mass. But the Amul girl’s cheekiness – all over again – forces you to put these thoughts behind as you wonder how timeless some of her comments are.
Besides the ABC of Amul, such as how the decision of Verghese Kurien, the man behind the White Revolution, to leave marketing to professionals paid dividends, and the initial misgivings of Sylvester daCunha, the man behind the advertisement agency that created the character, about the ungrammatical-ness of the catch phrase utterly butterly, the slim volume manages to pack in quite a few ‘celebrity’ articles gushing about all-time favourites.
You get to know other things as well. That Cyrus ‘The Virus’ Broacha worked on at least two hoardings as trainee copywriter before he moved on to greener pastures. That the team sometimes creates region-specific hoardings. That while in 1980s the hoarding stayed up for almost two weeks, these days, three days is all it takes for the team to come up with another one. That M F Husain asked the team to gift him a smaller version of the hoarding featuring him. That Amitabh Bachchan keeps a copy of the hoardings that he was featured in. That defamation is something that Amul girl often trapezes into these days. That hoardings are no longer hand painted, but the sketches are still hand-coloured. That, according to Shobaa Dé at least, Amul girl is inspired by Nisha daCunha, Sylvester daCunha’s wife. And yes, Nisha daCunha seems to have dyed her hair blue at some point.