Tourist town of Saint-Tropez plans Indian film festival in 2012, which it has dedicated as the Year of India
After having Aishwarya Rai at Cannes, and Mallika Sherawat soon afterwards, the French want more of Bollywood and perhaps a lot more of India. Saint-Tropez, the picturesque tourist town in southeast France, has decided to dedicate 2012 as the year of India, strengthening the relationship between the two peoples. The highlight will be an Indian film festival which, it is hoped, can become an annual event. This was announced by Claude Maniscalco, director of Saint-Tropez Tourism, earlier this week.
"As a part of strengthening our bonds with India, we are working on creating a film festival, which will benefit the Indian producers and entertain the public. People there are fascinated with Bollywood, but they do not understand the films. We want them to enjoy desi movies," Mr Maniscalco said. He is visiting the ongoing International Film Festival of India in Goa to gain an "insight" into the workings of Bollywood.
The celebrations will include dance, music and other cultural programmes, fashion shows, polo and golf competitions. The special interest in Indian films should not come as a surprise.
During the past decade, Europe has borne witness to the rising popularity of Hindi films-a dazzling and at the same time intriguing phenomenon. The excesses, once looked down upon by European audiences, have now turned immensely popular. Blockbusters like Dilwale Dulhania Le Jaayenge, Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham and Lagaan, have all done extremely well abroad, and even domestic flops like Dil Se, Asoka and Yaadein have been hits in Europe.
This success cannot to be attributed to the Indian diaspora alone. Amitabh Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan and Rajnikanth can now boast of a tremendous fan base outside India, among foreigners too. So much so, nearly all big-budget Bollywood projects nowadays have at least one European and one American premiere. With such an increasing global presence, its understandable that filmwallahs abroad would be interested in a share of the Bollywood pie.
Mr Maniscalco explained that holding an Indian film festival in France would also provide Indian filmmakers an opportunity to acquire technical knowledge from that part of the film world. He also said that Saint-Tropez has a film council, which would be happy to assist Indian filmmakers to market their productions across the continent.
Oh yes, and what a tourism brochure it would make! Bollywood has always favoured foreign locations (initially it was only some song-and-dance routines; today entire films are being shot abroad), multiplying the fantasies for Indian audiences. It's also a lot easier on our filmmakers, who are otherwise hassled by licences, formalities and worse within India.
Now, here's an open invitation for Bollywood, in the hope that it will draw India's growing affluent class to the town located on the French Riviera. After the tulip fields of Holland and the scenic Alps of Switzerland, we could have a brand new Mediterranean location. Good luck, or as they wish in French, 'bonne chance'!
The ad is simple; the emotions speak their own story
The biggest headache of survivors after they've lost their loved one is the running around they have to do to get their hands on the life insurance funds.
I have heard sordid tales of people being made to dash from pillar to post for their claims. So, on top of the grief attached with losing a loved one, this becomes an additional trauma.
Bharti Axa Life Insurance has used this insight to promote its insurance package, with a promise that claims will be settled within 48 hours flat. That's a challenging promise. And full marks to them for not just using the correct insight for the communication, but also promising swift settlements.
So quite expectedly the TV commercial follows a straight line. No funnies or lateral thinking out here. A grieving widow arrives at an insurance company office to claim life insurance for her dead mister.
But the dudes are all busy chatting with each other. So the poor widow empties her handbag of her hubby's belongings. And offers it to them, saying that's all she has left of her man's memories. But what the insurance company has, the claim, they aren't giving her. And that she doesn't appreciate being made to run around for the funds. Next of course she finds herself at the Bharti Axa Life Insurance office.
Where she's promised a 48-hour settlement and offered a cup of tea as well. That it is a female officer this time round is a coincidence of course! (Not all of us men are heartless, people!)
VO: 'Bharti Axa Life Insurance - Jeevan Suraksha Ka Naya Nazariya'.
Well, nothing extraordinary about the commercial. Which in this case is actually a good thing. They have kept it simple, and have let the emotions talk their own story. It would have been tempting to jazz up things a bit, but it's correct that they didn't follow that path.
The treatment is done like a scene from an old Hindi movie tearjerker. Remember that heart-rending scene from 'Saransh', where the protagonist, the character played by Anupam Kher, is made to run from pillar to post to be able to claim the remains of his dead son's ashes. It's similar in nature. So it should evoke a lot of empathy from the target audiences.
Lesson: It's very important to base your communications on a strong consumer insight. Once that's done, the creative becomes child's play.
The only question left: Will Bharti Axa Life Insurance live up to its promise? Or, will we have to go from one cup of chai to another waiting for the dosh?