Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Brand Talk - Sooper's Blooper

What were they thinking?

There can be a number of reasons behind their thought process. Maybe it's a new brand manager who wanted to make this mega TVC and impress all and sundry. Or maybe it was the old agency who thought that the new brand manager will buy this 'song +dance+biscuit' concept (see ad here). Or maybe it was both. Or maybe the top management felt that it was about time that the biscuit industry follows the sing song formula which was used, misused and abused by the telecom giants, milk brands and cola drinks, to name a few. 

But why Sooper? 

Sooper is the crown jewel of English Biscuits Manufacturers (EBM). And it deserves to be that. The biscuit tastes good, looks good and has very attractive packaging. It gave LU Bakeri (a product of Continental Biscuits) a run for its money so much so that Bakeri had to completely revamp itself; new product line, new packaging and a new campaign and still they are no match to the mighty Sooper. Even when EBM reduced the size of the biscuit and increased the price, Sooper survived. 

The thought, which I humbly believe, is behind this new campaign is merely to take the brand to the 'next' level (a jargon often used by our agencies and some brand people). How do we do that? The most easy method is to have some good looking people eating a tea time biscuit in an extremely seductive way at all the places where biscuits are not, usually, on the menu. You would think the models are taking swigs of whiskey or chugging down beer, and not eating an egg and milk biscuit. Looking at their expressions and body language it appears that the biscuit is giving pleasure of an orgasmic proportion. ‘Mazar Ker Lay, Dil Bhar Kay’ (Have a good time to your heart’s content) – what has that got to do with biscuits?

Why do brand teams want to break away from the legacy of a brand? Why do we forget the basics and just focus on the advertising campaign? Why do both brand teams and the agency forget things like target market, usage situations, user profiles and brand personality? Why?

Poor Pied Piper – his days are over and done with, unless he, too, gets a makeover!

Friday, December 24, 2010

The festive Google Doodle!

I am loving the Google Doodle today. The page opened to unveil a beautiful collage of various landmarks/features of cities around the world. With just one click, you can get a glimpse of Mount Fuji (Japan), The Great Wall of China, delicious French cuisine in Paris (where else!), romantic gondola ride in Venice, classical Indian dancers, the Sydney Harbor Bridge, and of course, Santa Claus on a rooftop, ready to go down the chimney with his bag of gifts! 

Google has a tradition of changing its logo to commemorate birthdays, holidays etc. Some of my favourite Google Doodles this year include Robert Stevenson's 160th birthday (he happens to be the author of Treasure Island), Discovery of X-Ray (the rubber ducky was too cute!), Pacman's 30th Anniversary Doodle, and the 170th Birthday of Tchaikovsky  (the composer of the beautiful ballet, Swan Lake).

What was your favourite Google Doodle this year?

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tour dé Lahore - a pictorial

The Beautiful Wazir Khan Mosque

The walk to the splendid Wazir Khan Mosque was through small streets (left) after entering from the Delhi Gate (right). A street beggar counts his change, oblivious to the rickshaw. Benazir's photo looks down from the crumbling walls.

A work of art indeed!

'This beautiful building is in itself a school of design'- Lockwood Kipling

The Lahore Fort - still holding strong.

These crumbling walls of the fort hold many secrets of the glorious era of the Moguls. If only they could talk...

Walking up the steps to the grand Badshahi Mosque. Nothing can ever prepare you for the sight of this architectural wonder. The designers, masons and artisans of that age were true masters if they could produce wonders such as these without the aid of modern technology. The enormity of the Mosque takes your breath away and every beautiful detail of the Mosque leaves you awestruck and humbled. 

The majestic Badshahi Mosque

Nothing can prepare you for the 'lowering of flag' ceremony at the ceremonial Wagah Border also!

It seems like a big 'tamasha' (performance). We were the 'Tamashbeen' (public) cheering and shouting patriotic slogans when ever one of our soldiers struck the ground hard with their boots or adjusted their turbans and showed fists to the 'enemy'. 

The picture on the left shows one of the important rituals preceding the flag lowering ceremony. The soldiers of the Border Security Force of India are also doing the same on their side of the border. Since the gates are still closed, we cannot see if they can match the strength of our soldiers. 
All during the ceremony I was wondering when one of them might slip. No wonder they keep  the gates closed!

These two soldiers did such a good job at intimidating their rivals! Full marks to them for acting so well! The crowd applauded their show of power and clapped and cheered immensely. I could just not stop laughing! 

The flag lowering ceremony. Did we win? 
The final showdown!

    All smiles at the gates...these guards were really tall men! Or was it their shoes?
Is this the gateway of freedom for all? Just like Quaid-e-Azam, M.A.Jinnah had envisioned?
I think we all knew the sad answer to this question even as we shouted patriotic slogans.
Note: All these photographs were taken from Ahsan's camera by him, myself and Mohsin Bhai. I can't take the credit for all the photographs! :)

Tour dé Lahore

A day trip exclusively for sightseeing around Lahore seemed too good to be true but where there’s a will there is a way and Jeff proved it. It is nothing short of a miracle that wedding guests, ranging from the ages of 60 to two years managed to wake up early on a Sunday morning (while on vacation and after a late night of partying) and assembled at 10ish at Liberty Market for a traditional puri halwa breakfast. The day’s itinerary was ambitious; a quick trip down Lahore’s rich historic past and (a little not so rich) present.

The mastermind behind the entire trip was none other than the father of the bride, my dear uncle, Jeff, who was harbouring the dream of such a tour since the day he moved to Lahore! This trip was a recreational and educational trip. And it was a good change from the usual mundane trips to malls and bazaars.

Our first stop was the very beautiful Wazir Khan Mosque. This mosque was built in seven years and work began on it in 1634-1635 during the reign of the Mogul Emperor Shah Jehan. It is famous for its faience tile work (source: Wikipedia). The entrance to the mosque is through Delhi Gate, one of the old gates of the inner city. The tile work is absolutely breathtaking. Our stop there was brief and though we were in the middle of the city, there was a sense of quiet calm within the walls of the mosque.

As we moved through the narrow streets to reach Wazir Khan Mosque, I felt sad at the degradation around me. There was absolute chaos outside the Mosque; life went on around this great architectural beauty in the same manner it does anywhere in our country. It seems sad that all new governments want to build new monuments to mark their time in power; ugly structures that are a display of ego and fake patriotism but no one takes any concrete steps to protect our inheritance, and the little proof that remains of our glorious ancestors.

The display of decadence is nowhere more prominent than at the majestic Lahore Fort. It was built during the reign ofAkbar (1556-1605) and inside it there are many famous sites; Sheesh Mahal, Naulakha Pavilion, and Moti Masjid (source: Wikipedia). The Lahore Fort is also a UNESCO Heritage Site (as is Wazir Khan Mosque) but it seems otherwise from its dilapidated condition. The very walls of the entire place seem to be crumbling. On a previous visit during a trip I’d made to the fort in 2006, the Sheesh Mahal was being renovated. Four years later the renovation is still going on. What a splendid sight the mirrors must be during the heydays of the Moguls. It was heart breaking walking around the fort which, too, has become commercialized.Where, once, the footsteps of Kings echoed people are eating french fries under ugly branded umbrellas of Walls and Coca Cola.

We made a very brief stop at the Badshahi Mosque which is right opposite the fort.. This grandiose structure was commissioned by the Mogul emperor Aurangzeb in 1671 and was completed in 1673 (source: Wikipedia). The Badshahi Mosque is a landmark of Lahore and it is unparallel in its beauty, magnificence and splendour. Since it was a Sunday, the place was thronging with visitors. And we had to cut short our trip so as to be able to be on time at our final stop, the Wagah Border.

Wagah Border is the ceremonial border between Pakistan and India. Over the years, it has become a major tourist attraction as there is an elaborate flag lowering ceremony which is preceded by a parade of sorts (very choreographed) between the Pakistan Rangers and Border Security Force of India. The ceremony is well known for the theatrics pulled by soldiers of the two countries with much fist shaking and boot stamping amidst cheering crowds on both sides. We also joined in the fun and shouted ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ while the Indians did the same. Both the sides had more or less the same setup but ours was a little too pompous. We had a bigger and taller gate which looked rather ugly. Do we really think that a monstrous gate will make us a bigger or better country? I think the gate did represent what our nation stands for (especially now), a country which has big words and ideas (not to forget big presidential palaces and big government spendings) but is hollow from the inside (even the sliding gates did not work all that smoothly!). And to counter Asoka’s Lions which stood atop the pillars of the India gate, we had Allah carved atop both our pillars. Probably because the only reason we’re still here is because of HIM, otherwise we’ve not left any stone unturned to destroy ourselves.

The ceremony was fun. There was a hint of sadness in my feelings as I thought of the great Mogul Emperors, Akbar, Shah Jehan and Aurangzeb. They ruled over a united subcontinent where Hindus and Muslims lived together. How would they react to the Wagah Border? Surely they would be rather shocked. Will our reasons for a separate homeland for Muslims be good enough to justify breaking their homeland into pieces? Somehow, I don’t think so.

I did some sightseeing on my own also when I dragged my mother and brother to the Lahore Museum. There are some amazing things there; miniature Mogul paintings on ivory, wood sculptures of Hindu Gods, a huge stone stature of Asoka’s lions, and of course, the great Sadequain’s paintings. But it is a depressing place and it left me sad. Will we never learn to appreciate our past? I fear the answer. 

At the Shahi Qilla (Lahore Fort)

A big thanks to Jeff for planning this trip! It added a unique and memorable touch to the wedding festivities!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Teen Talwar dress up!

Karachi prides itself on being a melting pot of how did this come about?

Bram Stoker's - Dracula

Little did Bram Stoker know that his one creation will enthral and spell bound readers and non-readers alike for countless generations. Count Dracula is the perfect example of how a strong character can rise above the simplest of stories and become immortal. 007 (Fleming) and Jeeves (Wodehouse) are other such characters.

In writing Dracula, Stoker adopted a unique style of narration. It is through the diary or journal entries, letters and telegrams of various characters that the story unfolds. This lends a touch of realism to the story making it more creepy, mysterious and disturbing.

Stoker laid down ground rules about vampires in his book but he also left much to the reader’s imagination. Dracula’s past, his ancestors, his household, the extent of his powers are aspects which Stoker has not revealed in too much detail, leaving us to form our own conclusions and create our own variations.

The character of Count Dracula has a lot of depth, something which the modern vampires don’t possess. He is not just a blood sucking monster but an intelligent being that meticulously makes plans and executes them. His strength, both of mind and body, helps him survive but he also knows his limitations and cannot live among ordinary humans (unlike the modern vampires who seem to gel in perfectly well with the living and the dead) for extended intervals. His cold hearted nature is what makes him so horrific; he derives a certain joy from his kill. He plans to set up base in London to carry out massive destruction (both in terms of killing people and converting a selected few into his army of ‘un-dead’) in order to gain strength and amass power over the living. Seems Dracula shares certain characteristics with the present geo-political players who are willing to go to any lengths (as revealed by Wiki leaks) to establish their writ!

Dracula has inspired many film versions but almost all of them deviate to a certain degree from the book, making them very unpopular with me. I was quite upset with Francis Ford Coppola’s version of Dracula – ‘Love never dies’. Although the plot bore much resemblance to Stoker’s book, the execution and cinematography was in extremely bad taste. Coppola, as always, wants to create something ‘different’ so he selected an actor who was the complete opposite of Dracula’s description (as established by Stoker) and shown in previous films, added a love story in the whole Dracula saga and sprinkled the film with exotic costumes and nudity. I guess it was one artist’s interpretation of another. It is the 1931 film, starring Béla Lugosi as the Count which captures Dracula perfectly. The plot deviates, slightly, from the book but the black & white film lends an altogether different feel to Dracula’s character although I must admit that the flying bats looked more comical than eerie!

A must read – not for the faint hearted though!

'The blood is the life'– Count Dracula 

Friday, November 12, 2010

The lighter side of...Dracula!

Dracula is one of the novels, this month, on my book list (November Writers).

Photograph: Google Images

Monday, November 1, 2010

'Khel Jari Hai' plays on well in Karachi!

The Poster
Have you ever wondered what it takes to bring a theatre play to life? How rehearsals are done and what are the dynamics of the relationship among the actors behind the stage? Both these questions were answered in NAPA Repertory Theatre’s latest play, ‘Khel Jari Hai’, an adaptation of Rick Abbot’s famous comedy play, ‘Play On’. The play was adapted in Urdu by Babar Jamal, a NAPA student, and directed by Rahat Kazmi.

In a nutshell ‘Khel Jari Hai’ revolves around a group of actors who are trying to put together a murder mystery play but things aren’t coming together as smoothly as the director wishes them to. The play is due to be staged in a few days and most of the actors don’t remember their cues. There are also problems with the set design, the sound and the props, especially the wall mounted safe. Nothing appears to be ready for the final performance. To make matters worse the playwright keeps making last minute changes in the script, hence compounding the frustration of the entire cast and director. What follows is a funny and often bordering on sarcasm, war of words between the actors, director and the playwright.

Even though the concept of the play was rather strange (it was a play within a play!), the actors pulled it off quite decently. It was rather a big cast and almost all of them (minus one or two) were constantly on the stage. Akbar Islam was very comfortable in his role as the director who tries to keep everybody happy without losing his cool. It was very refreshing to see Bakhtawar Mazhar perform a comedic role (she was a senior actor within the play and threw some brilliant tantrums!) and she showed, yet again, what a versatile actress she is. Ali Kazmi and Mehwish Siddique were the lovers both in the play and within the play! Mehwish was spontaneous; both with her dialogue and body language and her colourful costumes brightened up the stage. It was Ali Sheikh who had the audience cracking up with his crisp dialogue delivery and sarcastic one-liners. Rauf Afridi was the ‘pathan’ sound and light man in the play and he, also, had the audience laughing. It was a pity his role was so small but even then he left a memorable impression.

A major disappointment in the play was the lighting. It was really nothing special and left much to be desired. The brochure and the poster were also amateurish and a tad bit tacky. The set, on the other hand, was very nicely done; in fact, it was like a mini theatre within the arts council!

A large number of people had turned out to see the play which was very encouraging. There are not many avenues of entertainment for us Karachites (besides the food joints) and in this time of inflation and stress a good laugh is always welcome! So, Play On NAPA!

'A mini-theatre within the arts council'
'War of the words between Director (Akbar Islam, far left ) & sound man (Rauf Afridi, far right in blue)

'The playwright announces changes in the script yet again!'
(L-R: Bakhtawar Mazhar, Sayem, Mehwish Siddique, Afsheen Hayat, Zarina Ahmed, Ali Kazmi, Ali Sheikh)
'Trouble at the dress rehearsal'

(L-R; Akbar Islam, Mehwish Siddique, Tanwir Abbas, Ali Sheikh)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

November Writers


As I write this, November is peeping in the door and October is collecting its bags and heading out. Another new month full of some planned and many unplanned events. Of course, November is not the month to account for the year - that is a task reserved for December.

This month is a little less ambitious as far as reading is concerned. One of my favourite authors is going to be on my reading list this month. Yes, November is the birth month of Fyodor Dostoevsky. A Russian author, I was mesmerized with his writing when I read ‘The Idiot’. This month will be dedicated to him and I’ll try and read his ‘House of the Dead’ and ‘Demons’.

Bram Stoker shares the birth month with Dostoevsky and I’ll  be reading none other than his masterpiece ‘Dracula’ this month.

November will all be about the dark side of life – only as far as literature is concerned!

Photographs: Google Images

Dracula likes Absolut!

Absolut pays homage to one of the greats of literature, Bram Stoker, and his creation 'Dracula'.

Stoker is also the Writer of the Month (November) right here on beanbagtales.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Brand Talk: Don Carlos brings in a 'Brand New Experience'

Shoes are a weakness for me. When I lay my eyes on a good pair my heart misses a beat, I hear violins and time comes to a standstill.

But a good pair is hard to find in Karachi. Even though there are many shoe outlets, both foreign and local, it is seldom that a shoe sends shivers of excitement down my spine. Advertising of shoe brands has changed over the years too. There are more designer brands in the market but they serve a niche only. When it comes to shoe brands for the masses, the two top brands are still Bata and Servis.

When I think of Servis, there are three things that come in my mind; Cheetah (a brand of Servis), Shahid Afridi (who is the brand ambassador of Cheetah) and the Mountain Dew ad – 'Cheetah bhi peeta hai' (even a Cheetah drinks it!). This just goes to show that the best ad Mountain Dew ever made featured a Cheetah. Wait, we’re talking about Servis here!

Servis has developed a new advertising campaign for their Don Carlos brand. Don Carlos is a relatively high end brand of shoes which has as a bold, sophisticated and mysterious persona ( But even though the Don Carlos ad is probably one of the very good Pakistani ads, it somehow never really attracted the high-end target market it showed in the ad. We loved the ad, we made parodies of it in college/university but we never walked into a Servis outlet to check out Don Carlos shoes.

(Chick magnet?!)
I think, with the new campaign, Servis wants more sales and less mystery. They even changed the tagline from, 'The DonCarlos Experience' to 'A Brand New Experience'. Not a bad step since they were never able to define what the Don Carlos experience really is. The new tagline, for me, is rather tacky. The new campaign is aimed, primarily, at the youth and the focus is on the shoes and usage occasions; mountaineering, hanging out at the beach, at a disco. [They don’t want consumers to only think of Cheetah when they think Servis and subsequently end up discussing and drinking Mountain Dew!]

(I'm too cool for you girl!)

The concept of the campaign is good but it lacks aesthetics. The photography is not up to the mark and the backdrops seem artificial. There are just too many girls in the ad where one good one could’ve sufficed. They have created sub-brands in order to differentiate the various types of shoes in the Don Carlos range. Thus we have N-Dure (Experience the Adventure), Maximus (Experience the Privilege), Classic (Experience the Prestige) and Breezers (Experience the Comfort). This is a good step provided that they stick to these names and have them prominently displayed in the retail store also. More than that, the sub-brands would make sense if, and only if, there are noticeable differences among the shoes.  Sales staff must not only know the names of the various sub-brands but also understand the differences between them. The entire campaign will fall flat if the salesperson has a blank expression on his face if a consumer walks in and asks for a ‘Maximus’. [Wasn’t Maximus the name of Russell Crowe’s character in Gladiator? Why does Servis do this?!]

A good campaign but it’ll only work if it is accompanied with availability of the range at the stores and of course, knowledge of the sales staff. An ad can lead a consumer to the shop but once there the product and the salesman close the deal. Let’s see how Servis does on that front.

One thing they do have is a very decent website. Do check out

(Hopefully, the shoes will survive the rocky surface!)
(These shoes don't look too comfy for dancing!)

Images: Sunday magazine (Daily times)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Dark and desirable!

Dark chocolate is our weakness (hubby dear and myself) and both of us often indulge ourselves with a big bar of Lindt 70% cocoa. It's amazingly dark, amazingly bitter and amazingly good! Here is an extremely creative ad of this chocolate which I found some time back on the internet (and discovered while I was cleaning up my hard drive). This ad should be shown to all those clients who hate copy and want their product all over the place in print ads. If your product is good, it'll be able to sell whether it occupies 80% of the space or a mere 20%. But telling this to a client is hitting your head against the wall, every time!

...and I've just realized - we've run out of our supply of 70% cocoa....if only I was taking  judo classes!

Is chocolate your weakness too?

Photograph: Google Images

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Damsel in Distress? Wodehouse to the rescue!

‘Wodehouse’s idyllic world can never stale. He will continue to release future generations from captivity that may be more irksome than our own. He has made a world for us to live in and delight in’. 
Evelyn Waugh

Any one of Wodehouse’s works must feature in your list of books to read before you die. And if you’re not a very serious reader, I would suggest you pick any book on Wooster and Jeeves (the butler I wish I had! Carry on Jeeves) but in case you can’t get hold of Jeeves, A Damsel in Distress would do brilliantly.

Wodehouse stories revolve around British aristocracy, life in English country houses and golf. There will be a myriad of characters, each one with eccentric habits who find themselves in situations so absurd it’ll blow your mind off!

Percy's Hat goes flying!
Take this book for instance. The story opens at Belpher Castle, home to Lord Marshmoreton and his crazy family. His sister, Lady Caroline Byng wants her step-son, Reggie, to marry her brother’s daughter, Maud. Reggie is in love with Alice Faraday, Lord Marshmoreton’s secretary who is helping him to write his memoirs, a task Marshmoreton abhors (he would rather tend to his rose garden). Maud, Lord Marshmoreton’s only daughter, is in love with a young man whom she had met in Wales a year ago. And then there is Percy, Maud’s brother, heir of Belpher Castle.  He fits the aristocratic definition perfectly and has a similar stance as his aunt, Lady Caroline, in almost all matters.

Enter George who not only, unwillingly, becomes an accomplice to Maud’s escape from Percy but also sends his hat flying off his head in London (why is Maud escaping from her own brother?). Who is George? He’s an American music composer who happens to be in London with his performers and runs into Maud, one fine day, while sitting in his taxi. One thing leads to another and George finds himself madly in love with Maud. So much in love that he is willing to scale any walls, even those of Belpher Castle, hanging onto bedsheets for his dear life!

Hanging onto dear life!
Will George and Maud get together? Will Reggie be able to convince his step-mother that his heart desires Alice Faraday? Will Lord Marshmoreton finish his memoirs at the cost of his rose garden? Will Percy rule Belpher Castle with an iron fist?

Curious? Read the book!

Photographs (Percy's Hat & Hanging onto Dear life): Google Images

Monday, October 11, 2010

An Ideal Husband - Oscar Wilde

According to Wilde, ‘If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you’.

An Ideal Husband is an 1895, comedic stage play. The action is set in London, in ‘the present’ and takes place over the course of twenty four hours (source: Wikipedia). The play revolves around blackmail, politics, and public honour. It also touches upon the subject of matrimony and what makes a husband, ideal.

Act I opens in the Chiltern household where a banquet of sorts is taking place. It is here that we are introduced to all the major characters; Sir Robert Chiltern, his wife, Lady Chiltern, his dandified friend Lord Goring, Goring’s father Lord Caver sham, Mabel Chiltern, Sir Robert’s younger sister and of course, Mrs. Cheveley.

Mrs. Cheveley is the perfect villain. She is ‘a genius in the daytime and a beauty at night’. Mrs. Cheveley has, in her possession, a letter from Sir Robert’s past which can ruin his public and private life. Everybody has skeletons in their closets and Sir Robert is no exception. The most unfortunate thing, for him, is that not only does the world but his wife, also, has no clue of this horrid letter from his past.

One of the long speeches from Act II is very interesting. Following is an excerpt of an exchange between Sir Robert Chiltern and his wife, Lady Chiltren after the latter found out the dreaded secret from her husband’s past.

“Lady Chiltern: .......And now- oh, when I think that I made of a man like you my ideal! The ideal of my life!

Sir Robert Chiltern: There was your mistake. There was your error. The error all women commit. Why can’t you women love us, faults and all? Why do you place us on monstrous pedestals?  We have all feet of clay, women as well as men; but when we men love women, we love them knowing their weaknesses, their follies, their imperfections, love them all the more, it may be, for that reason.  It is not the perfect, but the imperfect, who have need of love. It is when we are wounded by our own hands, or by the hands of others, that love should come to cure us – else what use is love at all? All sins, except a sin against itself, Love should forgive. All lives, save loveless lives, true Love should pardon. A man’s love is like that. It is wider, larger, more human than a woman’s. Women think that they are making ideals of men. What they are making if us are false ideals merely.”

I wonder how a feminist reader would react to Sir Robert Chiltern’s speech. Men in our society do expect women to love them with all their faults. But unlike Sir Robert, they can’t stand any imperfection in their wives. One thing is for sure, feminist or not, a woman’s love is much wider and larger than a man’s unless of course, you’re married to the ideal husband!

Two of the most interesting characters in the play are Lord Goring and Mrs. Cheveley. Goring’s character is of a laid back bachelor who enjoys the finer things in life. He is a glorified dandy; a man who pays particular attention to his physical appearance and almost borders on being a narcissist (Oscar Wilde was quite the dandy himself). Following is a little excerpt from Act III where Goring is having a talk with his butler, Phipps.

“Lord Goring: You see, Phipps, Fashion is what one wears oneself. What is unfashionable is what other people wear.

Wilde - Quite the dandy!
Phipps: Yes, my lord.

Lord Goring: Just as vulgarity is simply the conduct of other people.

Phipps: Yes, my lord.

Lord Goring: And falsehoods the truths of other people.

Phipps: Yes, my lord.

Lord Goring: Other people are quite dreadful. The only possible society is oneself.

Phipps: Yes, my lord.

Lord Goring: To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance, Phipps.”

Modesty, thy name is not Lord Goring.

Lord Goring corners Mrs. Cheveley
The hero of the play, for want of a hero figure, is undoubtedly Lord Goring. He has the most charming manners, the wittiest lines, good looks and is the saviour of his friend, Sir Robert Chiltern. It is interesting how, in Act III, Lord Goring manages to corner Mrs. Cheveley  and thus, save his friend’s reputation. Lord Goring is not upright or righteous, far from it, but he has an understanding of how an evil mind works. Let’s just say that Lord Goring is street smart and it is this personality trait that helps him to nail Mrs. Cheveley.

The play ends on a happy note. Sir Robert Chiltern and his wife come to terms with the past and the present.  Lord Goring also ties the knot in Act IV when he proposes to the younger sister of Sir Robert Chiltern, Mabel Chiltern, and is accepted. Does he make an ideal husband?

“Lord Caver sham (Lord Goring’s father): And if you don’t make this young lady an ideal husband, I’ll cut you off with a shilling.

 Mabel Chiltern: An ideal husband! Oh, I don’t think I should like that. It sounds like something in the next world.

Lord Caver sham: What do you want him to be then, dear?

Mable Chiltern: He can be what he chooses. All I want is to be...oh! a real wife to him.”

I wonder...

[A little trivia; The Ideal Husband has several celluloid versions with the latest one being that of 1999 starring Cate Blanchett as Lady Chiltern, Julianne Moore as Mrs. Cheveley, and Rupert Everett as Lord Goring].

Photographs: Google Images