As a girl shuffles about aimlessly, flipping a stole from side to side with a sort of fumbling uselessness, her mother enters and smiles. She sees her daughter, clad in what fashion novices might term 'contemporary-ethnic' garb, adjusting her hair in a mild nervousness—date-alert alarms start to sound.
When the gentle probe of 'Where are you going' comes forth as it inevitably would, the answer is a light, 'Just stepping out'. She clarifies that she isn't downing Jaeger bombs or attending any raves with the parent-pleasing addendum, "There's a theatre festival that I just thought I'd check out." This, followed by a passively pacifying 'Only near by," that has another 'I'll be back by evening" quick on its heels.
The twirling-in-tune-with-the-mirror session is interspersed with incredible eye-flitting from the mother, who has now caught a glimpse of the daughter's screen that's bright and popping two messages from a 'Samrat' on Tinder. Now, in a reaction we are going to explore in excruciating detail, she smiles.
The girl then places a necklace on her chest, and asks her mum if it works with what she's wearing. Her mother responds with 'It's perfect' and then, in a struggling reference that serves to make audiences from all ages supremely uncomfortable, says 'I'd even, what do you call it? Right Swipe on it!'
The ad ends with the mother recommending that she put on some kajal because 'it has it's own charm' *cue an 'Oh-Mamma!' smile*, and with a few gushes-to-self for both ladies, we have a wrap.
Wait, watch it first, because you have a tirade to get through next.
In the plethora of problems we have with this pandering ad, the first ones that come to fore are these:
1) Tinder, a hook-up app that came to fame for throwing people together for casual sex the world over is now being touted as a dating app. I mean, it even sorts you on the basis of location, people. "I'm in Gurgaon, you're in Gurgaon. #Wannabang".
2) It is not ONLY being pegged as a dating app, it's being pegged as a parent-approved dating app. In a regular world, THAT mom (if she knows enough about Tinder to have figured out how to ill-fittingly used the phrase 'Swipe Right') knows what Tinder is about...atleast enough to not lay the cornerstone of her dulha search from there. And no mom beams like that about her daughter getting boned by some rando called Samrat.
3) The ad is, quite seriously, pandering AF. In the tempered responses from Kurta girl, we see her ascribe and submit to the exact, textbook script of 'Adarsh Answers' that a 'good Indian girl' should give in response to those questions. Activity –Theatre festival (safe). Time of Return: By Evening (Ergo, before dark= safe). Location—Close to home = no shenanigans (safe). Check, check, check and the daughter is desi perfection.
4) The most frightening of them all—that the one App that challenged that 'sanskaar' riddled ideology about relationships has now officially sold out. We don't know what bothers us more—the idea that Tinder is lying to a parent-base that might make it a touch unpopular with the shaadi.com contingent, or that people are now going to start using the ONE app that focussed on relationships in a totally fresh sense as a slightly spruced-up, younger-gen Bharat Matrimony.
What can we say, Tinder. You'd have more integrity with a slogan that actually talked up your USP. 'It's how people f*ck'.