[Updated with reviews of the SalesGenie ads, scroll down to 6:15 and 8:40 pm]
1:25 pm, New York time: It might be a silly idea, trying to liveblog South Asian stuff at a broadcast of the Super Bowl, but I am going to try to do that this evening, when the game starts around five hours from now. Of course, there's a chance there'll be little to blog about, but it's worth a try. Last year, we noted some of the desi actors in a single ad, for Bud Light and also looked at history of desis in the NFL.
Manish Vij of Ultrabrown reminds that there are/have been South Asian NFL players. The only current player is St. Louis Rams defensive player Brandon Chillar, who has been in the league for three years and had his best year in 2006. There are also two retired NFL players. One is Bobby Singh, a Fiji-Indian-Canadian, who played in the 1999 season for the Rams. Another is Sanjay Rajiv Beach, an Indian-Jamaican-American, who played for four years for the New York Jets, Green Bay Packers, and twice with the San Francisco 49ers. See the Manish's 2006 SepiaMutiny posting on this topic.
More to come soon. Feel free to add comments, links, observations below.
2:30 pm: The first time I encountered a desi connection at the Super Bowl: Jan. 24, 1982, for Super Bowl XVI. That's when the Cincinnati Bengals (named for the tiger, of course), lost to the San Francisco 49ers (one of my father's friends kept pronouncing them the plural of the Indian state, rather the Americanized "Benguls.") At the end of the game, they played "We Are the Champions" by Freddie Mercury and Queen (at that time, I didn't know about Mercury's Indian connection - I ensured my kids knew about it by the time they were two).
3:30 pm: If you are someone who watches the Super Bowl only for the ads (the way my wife does), you will see at least one ad with a desi connection. Bud Light is doing another version of the Carlos Mencia ad from last year. Anjul Nigam once again plays an Indian in an English-as-a-second-language class.
4:30 pm: Rakee Mirchandani, NY Post reporter and SAJA member, wrote last week about an unusual desi connection at this year's Super Bowl. From her article, "Super Subcontinent":
While there's nothing you can actually do to help Eli and the boys beat the Pats next weekend, you can help New York "Crash the Super Bowl." That's an off-field contest to win airtime for a music video during the game.
The local South Asian quartet, known as Soul Tap Presents Nivla and P. Oberoi (yup, that's their name), is a group composed of rapper Alvin "Nivla" Augustine, Punjabi folk singer Parag "P. Oberoi" Oberoi, Sharad "DJ Sharad" Bhavnani and sound engineer Raj "RVM Sounds" Makhija.
They're taking on Texans Kina Grannis and Landon Austin for a chance to win a record deal with Interscope. If they win, they'll have their video air during a Super Bowl commercial break.
Their Indian-fused hip-hop - a nod of sorts to Jay-Z and Punjabi MC's collaboration on the "Beware of the Boys" track a few years ago - lends Sub-continental style to the traditionally American rhythms.
tune in at
the end of the 1st quarter second quarter (according to this lineup) to see if they make the cut.
Here's a video of their recent appearance on a local news show in NYC.
6:51 pm: "Ramesh Chakrapani" is the name of an animated character in an ad for SalesGenie.com (see the ad below).
The company is owned by Vinod Gupta's InfoUSA. Here's a quote from Gupta why they advertised in the Super Bowl.
"There is no bigger audience available to an advertiser today than the Super Bowl, and we're using this incredible platform to launch Salesgenie.com to a huge portion of the sales and small business community who will be watching the game," said Vin Gupta, infoUSA Chairman and CEO.
Salesgenie is a subscription service that provides salespeople and small businesses with access to sales leads, mailing listings and business credit reports. Users can search from infoUSA's 12 databases to build targeted campaigns.
On YouTube the video of this and the other panda ad, have been placed in the SalesGenie collection by "VinGupta" (even if it's not him personally, it's certainly someone close to him, as you can see from all the videos). One of the commenters says:
I can't believe Vin Gupta put these on YouTube and left comments enabled. It is making him look like a total fool. He must have known he had the worst commercials of the Super Bowl.
7:04 pm: Doritos just ran its "Crash the Super Bowl" ad and the desi band didn't win, it appears. Soul Tap presents Nivla and P. Oberoi, who'd finished in the top three of the Doritos contest, was not the winner (see 4:30 pm entry above).
7:30 pm: Bud Light's commercial features the same two desi actors from last year.
Will find video shortly. Here's the video:
8:40 pm: SalesGenie.com's second animated ad runs, about a panda named Ling Ling. This, as mentioned at 6:51 pm, above, this is a company owned by Vinod Gupta. Interesting that both ads, which emphasize foreign accents in an unfunny way (Indian in the first, Chinese in the second), were at least approved by an Indian immigrant, Vinod GUpta himself. See this second ad below:
Salesgenie.com: What the hell? "Ling Ling" the panda with a bad, Charlie Chan Chinese accent? We'll withold comment until after the defamation lawsuit is settled.
Here's Time's TV and pop culture critic James Poniewozik on the SalesGenie "Ramesh" ad:
Salesgenie.com wants to give you 100 free sales leads — and all you have to do in return is subject yourself to some mild racial stereotyping! A put-upon sales rep named "Ramesh," with seven kids and the thickest Indian accent this side of the Kwik-E-Mart, is saved from certain termination by the leads. Maybe it's actually a subtle political commentary on outsourcing.
8:50 pm: Manoj Mishra sends this e-mail:
Actor Anjul Nigam appears again in a "Part Two" of a Super Bowl Bud Light commercial with Carlos Mencia. See links and other related article below.
New Spot: "Language of Love"
Last year's: "Classroom"
Here's a Chicago Tribune piece, "Bud Light is heavy in Super Bowl ads."
10:05 pm: My throat is hoarse from cheering for the Giants and their last-minute heroics against the Patriots. I need to point out that "House," the most popular scripted show on TV, has had several ads for it run throughout the Super Bowl (a two-hour episode airs tonight), and the one at the end shows one of the minor recurring characters, played by Kal Penn ("The Namesake," "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle").
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