TV's drug-taking yobs gain cult status in Iran

They are so popular that T-shirts and posters with the faces of prominent characters are being sold in Tehran's rambling bazaar, and a series of toys have been planned. The creator, the cartoonist Bahram Azimi, says they have even proved a success in Dubai and Iraq after being translated into Arabic.

With satirical takes on trendy young men experimenting with ecstasy pills and lowlife robbers casing a house, the humorous adverts have a become a must-see for viewers more used to dour religious sermons.

One pair of buffoons who feature prominently drive around pumping dance music from their small silver Peugeot, the wheels of choice for middle-class Tehrani young people. Their fashionably-trimmed sideburns, goatee beards and use of slang make them instantly recognisable.

At a party one of them takes ecstasy and collapses. He ends up on a stretcher while his friend sits next to him wailing: "What will I tell your mother?" Ecstasy use has risen in Iran, which already suffers from widespread heroin addiction. During the election, many people said they thought drug use among the young was one of the main problems the new government must address.

The adverts pay tribute to popular film genres too. In one, a man peeps through the blinds, a harsh ray of sunlight cutting across his face. In the street he can see two villains in a battered car watching the house. As he twirls, a phone to his ear, the theme tune to The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly makes him a virtual hero, facing down the bad guys with his call to the police.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad recently demanded the end of "decadent" Western music being played by state broadcasters. But these cartoons and other programmes show that the regime understands the limitations of fighting a cultural battle against what it calls "Westoxification."

At the end of each advert, a handsome policeman turns to the camera and gives a pep talk. His clean-cut image is in line with that promoted by Mohammed Baqer Qalibaf, the chief of police since 1999.

Mr Azimi says the police wanted him to show realistic, bad-mouthed characters, but he sometimes needed to convince them to go further. "They didn't really like our use of pop music at first, but we persuaded them that you needed that kind of music in the adverts or they would seem phoney."

* The Iranian government yesterday ordered the closure of the daily economic newspaper, Asia, and banned a planned women's publication, Nour-e Banovan, in the first media crackdown since President Ahmadinejad took office in August.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Manager - SAS - Data Warehouse - Banking

£350 - £365 per day: Orgtel: Manager, SAS, Data Warehouse, Banking, Bristol - ...

Web Analyst – Permanent – West Sussex – Up to £43k

£35000 - £43000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

Internal Project Manager - Business Analyst, Financial Services

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: One of the best known and most pr...

SQL DBA/Developer

£500 per day: Harrington Starr: SQL DBA/Developer
 SQL, C#, VBA, Linux, SQL Se...

Day In a Page

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment