New Delhi: Aamir Khan standing bare bodied on a railway track with a Dr-Spock-like expression on his face. Between us and his nakedness is what we used to refer to as a two-in-one, some variant of which some of us would recall possessing in the distant past.
While the Indian Internet (including me) almost immediately went abuzz discussing Aamir's lack of clothes in the first poster for Rajkumar Hirani's upcoming PK. The poster intrigued me, not because of the apparent male nudity, but the thing that Aamir was holding to cover what we euphemistically refer to as privates.
That it was a two-in-one (cassette player-cum-radio) from National Panasonic, was obvious (my next door neighbour in my childhood home in Shillong owned similar-looking device that appeared to have a weakness for Bappi Lahiri numbers). The difficult part was locating the exact model. It took a while and some effort, but finally I was able to pin it down. The model in question is a National Panasonic RQ-565D that most likely went on sale in the late 1970s.
What Aamir Khan is holding in the poster for Rajkumar Hirani's 'PK' is a National Panasonic RQ-565D from the late 1970s.
The RQ 565D had a three-band radio receiver (MW 525 - 1605 kHz; SW1 2,3 - 7,0 MHz; SW2 7,0 - 22 MHz). It included a 3-digit analog tape counter, a built-in condenser microphone for recording and a two-way speaker system. Also present were recording and battery level indicators, a feature that was a standard in many of the National Panasonic cassette recorders.
Panasonic had began making cartridge-type tape recorders in 1967 and the first model was the RQ-231. The RQ-565D would have been produced at least a decade later.
Curiously, a National Panasonic RQ-565D was listed on OLX.in, but is now sold.
A couple of units have also been listed in some Russian websites. That those are apparently still in working condition even after three decades has a lot to say about the its durability. This also perhaps explains why Aamir is trusting a RQ-565D to protect what is considered as one of the weaker areas of the male anatomy.