Dear Haridwar FDA, ads are fiction and also Madhuri Dixit isn't responsible for Maggi

Deepanjana Pal

May,30 2015 10:15:05 IST

According to the fount of wisdom and listicles that is Buzzfeed, India is the 14th best place to smoke weed freely. Why? Because it's easily available despite being illegal and somewhat joint to the hip of North Indian Hindu rituals. Apparently, cannabis may have originated in the Himalayas and contemporary experts maintain that the region -- particularly the foothills -- remains an excellent place to source the good stuff.

All of which might go some distance in explaining the Haridwar Food and Drug Administration's decision to send a notice to actress Madhuri Dixit for appearing in an advertisement for Maggi. She's been asked to explain how Maggi oats noodles are good for health as per the claims in this video.

The good part about the notice sent to Dixit is that we don't need to ask what the Haridwar FDA is smoking.

The bad part is that -- as anyone who has had to take care of a stoned friend on a bad trip will be able to tell you -- it won't be easy explaining to people like Food Security Officer Mahimanand Joshi that the Maggi ad is all fiction.

A screengrab from the Maggi ad. Image Courtesy: YouTube

A screengrab from the Maggi ad. Image Courtesy: YouTube

How will you explain to Joshi and his colleagues that Dixit isn't actually married to actor Mukul Chadda (the gent she drags out of bed and who valiantly but unsuccessfully tries to match Dixit dance move for dance move)? Imagine the shock the Haridwar FDA will feel when it realises that those children are not the fruit of Dixit's womb but hired child actors?

All those who aren't under the effect of hallucinogens are either mocking or slamming the Haridwar FDA's notice to Dixit. Spare a thought, however, for these bureaucrats whose world is about to change about as dramatically as it did for ancient cavemen when they first discovered fire. All this time, they've been thinking that the claims made in advertisements are true!

For instance, the Haridwar FDA probably thought that the monsoon comes to India only when Salman Khan gulps Thums Up.

No doubt each time a bowl of rice has been placed on the table, the bureaucrats have looked at their domestic help -- or whoever did the cooking -- and smiled in tender acknowledgement of this "love ka signal".

Will the FDA now send a notice to Heinz and Amitabh Bachchan for suggesting that drinking Complan will lead to the drinker being possessed by a tall, elderly gentleman wearing well-laundered bedsheets and a bad wig?

Maybe they think Hrithik Roshan has been tirelessly baking Milano cookies for the past few years.

If it was disappointing to realise Maggi is verging on toxic, then it's mindboggling to be confronted with the reality that in India, people who are considered educated and qualified enough to be employed by an organisation like the FDA may also be the epitome of foolishness. Despite the fact that it sounds like a group of practical jokers whose theme song is Bob Dylan's Rainy Day Woman #12 and 35, the FDA is actually a government body that is responsible for public health and raising awareness about nutrition. They're supposed to be able to sift through medical jargon and long-winded chemical terminology in order to tell what is actually cooking in the food that we consume, particularly in case of processed foods.

Knowing that its Haridwar chapter thinks Dixit should be well-versed with and responsible for the nutritional value of Maggi, would you trust our FDA? Knowing that no one in the government or bureaucracy had the good sense to bludgeon some sense into Haridwar FDA before it served Dixit a notice and made a public statement, would you want them looking out for you?

Dixit will have to explain that she was hired for an acting job and given a script, and is therefore not responsible for the ingredients of Maggi noodles. She'll have to make the FDA understand that the one claiming Maggi is healthy is Nestle, not Dixit. She will also have to convince the Haridwar FDA that advertisements are neither accurate nor realistic. This sounds a little bit like having to translate gibberish to English -- where does one even begin? We're praying that Joshi and gang are just crazy Dixit fans who have cooked up this grand ruse just so that they can meet her and get her autograph.

However, in the absence of any evidence of Haridwar FDA actually being a Madhuri fan club, we have to entrust India's public health to this level of intellectual prowess and logical reasoning. That is, in a word, frightening. Surely there's a legal notice that we as citizens can send to the government and the FDA, demanding an explanation as to how such singularly foolish people hold the positions of responsibility that they do?

Updated Date: May 30, 2015 10:25 AM