Social media went into a tizzy some time back when an ad of Pan Bahaar surfaced featuring none other than the one and only Pierce Brosnan. Everyone had a field day criticising the English movie star for endorsing such a harmful product, but as the article below explains, he is just a victim.

Pierce Brosnan made a career playing the forever-elusive, suave and hot MI6 agent, James Bond. Over the years, he has jet-setted the world, pitted his wits against those of international criminals, saved the world from destruction over and over again, made love to perhaps a thousand women without being tied down to one, and no one has ever been able to outwit him.

But then, Brosnan ran into this strange Indian phenomenon called jugaad.

He’s probably never heard of it. But what the term really means is that in India, because of the chaos that reigns in every stratum of society, the means by which you do something is rarely questioned as long as the ends are achieved. Did you accept a bribe while in office? Who cares as long as you get re-elected? Did you break the traffic rules? Who cares as long as no one got hurt and you got to jump the queue? Did you make a film that is a blatant rip-off of a little-known foreign film? Who cares as long as you make money?

The phrase that accompanies jugaad is therefore: Who cares as long as…

Now, what has happened is that Pan Bahaar, that widely respected paan masala company (sarcasm), somehow roped in Pierce Brosnan for an ad recently. Social media in India erupted, partly in disdain, partly in surprise. How did Brosnan agree to endorse such a harmful substance? When Indian celebrities themselves are drawing flak for endorsing products like gutkhas, shouldn’t an English celebrity know better? How dare he, they said. How dare Pan Bahaar?

What has emerged in the interim is that the contract that Pan Bahaar gave to Brosnan insisted that their product is a mouth freshener and tooth whitener. Brosnan thought he was endorsing a mouth freshening product, whereas Pan Bahaar saw it fit to insert its product into the actor’s well-manicured hands and release the final video.

You could literally hear a shady person deep within Pan Bahaar’s office (if they have offices) chuckle and say, ‘Who cares as long as we get away with it?’

To Brosnan’s credit, as soon as the furore came to his notice, he issued a public apology through a statement. He said, ‘Having endured the loss of my first wife and daughter as well as numerous friends to cancer, I am fully committed to supporting women’s healthcare and research programmes that improve human health and alleviate suffering.’

He also demanded that the company remove him from its advertising campaigns.

We hope that this is the last time that he falls for jugaad like this.

Indrasish Banerjee

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