The commercial appeals to the spiritual senses, and it works like magic — bringing out Kerala’s charm and appeal like no other ad has done
We have watched quite a few tourism ads from India over the years.
Those produced by the Centre for the whole nation, and those produced by the tourism boards of the various state governments. For the national and international markets. And except for a very few, most have failed to capture the nation/state in the way that they should.
The task gets even more difficult when one has to address international audiences, especially developed nations, whose citizens have preconceived notions about the country. And after the CWG fiasco, these notions are bound be those of fear, loathing and terror.
In that discouraging scenario, in comes a superb ad film from ‘God’s own country’, Kerala. I have been to that state many times, and have always returned feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, happy and most importantly, at peace. Kerala is that unique region in India which has that effect on the traveller. But so far, the communication has always failed to capture that mood, that imagination. But the new advert has changed that.
‘Your moment is waiting’ is the core message. The film has been executed more as a spiritual journey of a young female tourist rather than as a hard sell on the state. And within that mystical journey get reflected the cultural symbols we usually associate with Kerala. The greenery, the folk music, the elephants, the Ayurveda therapies, the Kathakali performers, the backwaters, the boats, etc. But no symbol, no image, appears forced. Every single frame flows seamlessly, naturally, like a sublime river. The commercial appeals to the spiritual senses alone, and it works like magic. The surreal imagery, the hymn-like background track, the sensual art direction… all stays with you long after the ad is done. Without saying the words, the ad tells you that you will discover inner peace and tranquillity in Kerala.
Now if a local, middle class, Kalmadi-ravaged desi like me wants to do Kerala immediately after a single exposure to the ad, imagine the effect it will have on the nirvana seeking, solitude craving, exotica lusting, richie-rich Europeans and Americans. It will work like a Mallu Pied Piper on the firangs.
Outstanding tourism advertising. Raises the bar for Indian advertising in general. Wish more Indian states put in the effort to dig deep within their regions, and find such magical ways to tell their stories. We need such soulful tourism communications now more than ever. After the Commonwealth Games sent Brand India, Destination India, for a toss.
Global cues indicate a soft-to-flat opening for the Indian market today. Markets in the US ended in the red on Monday on a decline in factory orders and the lingering debt crisis in Europe. Rating cuts of corporates by analysts ahead of the earnings season also weighed on the sentiments. The Asian pack reacted to the US rating cuts and was trading mostly lower. The SGX Nifty was down 10.50 points at 6,166.50 against its previous close of 6,177.
Profit booking took away most of the gains accrued in the early session yesterday. While the Indian market had a fairly decent opening, selling pressure in heavyweights led the indices near their opening levels at the end of the session. The negative opening of the influential European bourses added to the woes, ensuring that the Indian market ended flat albeit with a positive bias.
The Sensex shut at 20,475, up 30.69 points (0.15%), after attaining a 33-month high of 20,706 and a low of 20,437 towards the end of the session. The Nifty rose 16.05 points (0.26%) at 6,159. The benchmark swung between a high-low of 6,222 and 6,144, respectively.
Wall Street ended lower overnight on a decline in factory orders and the lingering debt crisis in Europe. Manufacturing orders in the US declined 0.5% in August, following a revised 0.5% increase a month earlier. While there was no single trigger for the decline, worries over European banks and speculations of further stimulus from the Federal Reserve kept investors on the sidelines. This apart, rating cuts of corporates ahead of the earnings season also weighed on the sentiments.
The Dow declined 78.41 points (0.72%) at 10,751. The S&P 500 shed 9.21 points (0.80%) at 1,137. The Nasdaq fell 26.23 points (1.11%) at 2,344.
Reacting to the rating cuts of US corporates by analysts ahead of the earnings season, the Asian pack was mostly in the red in early trade this morning. Cautiousness existed ahead of the Bank of Japan’s announcement of its monetary policies due later today.
The Hang Seng was down 0.15%, Jakarta Composite was down 0.05%, Straits Times was down 0.32%, Seoul Composite was down 0.25% and Taiwan Weighted was down 0.71%. On the other hand, KLSE Composite gained 0.54% and the Nikkei 225 was up 0.02%. The SGX Nifty was down 10.50 points at 6,166.50 against its previous close of 6,177.
The government on Monday asked firms which have been allotted captive coal blocks to submit status report of such reserves for July-September period by 15th October, as part of its drive to weed out "non-serious" companies sitting idle on the allotted blocks.
Treating the matter as "most urgent", the coal ministry said "you being a captive coal block allotee, are requested to send the detailed information for the quarter ended September 2010, positively by 15th October ".
Rajinikanth creates hysteria with Robot; Hindi-speaking territories to offer more shows
Forget Dabangg or 3Idiots, Rajinikanth-starrer Robot is set to rule Indian cinema with its whopping collections in the opening weekend. According to trade pundits, the film has collected Rs95 crore from the combined ticket sales of all three versions in the opening weekend. If you add the ticket sales from overseas, it rises to a record Rs100 crore.
"In the opening weekend, all the three versions of Robot have together collected Rs95 crore, which is the highest-ever in India. If you add the overseas figures, the total collections will increase probably by another Rs7 crore-Rs8 crore," said Komal Nahta, founder-editor of Koimoi.com.
The film is expected to generate at least about Rs120 crore-Rs130 crore more from ticket sales, Mr Nahta added. Just a month ago, Dabangg, with gross collections of Rs48.25 crore at the opening weekend, surpassed
3Idiots who raked in approximately Rs41 crore in the same period. But all this is history now. Robot has remade the box-office record in its own inimitable style.
The USP of the film is "everything", including the special effects and Rajni Sir, according to Mr Nahta. Even those who haven't watched the film are gung-ho about the movie and plan to watch it in the days to come.
Piyush Pandey, executive chairman and national creative director of Ogilvy India, said, "Though I don't want to comment on something I haven't seen, but I can tell you a very dear friend of mine who is the chairman of Lowe, R Balki (director of Paa), met me a day before yesterday. He has seen it in Tamil and said it's fantastic. So, I would like to test his judgement. I will definitely watch it. Such a phenomenon should be seen. The person second to Mr Bachchan is only Mr Rajinikanth. They are the actual fathers of (the) movie (industry) in the country. So, I will definitely see it."
Though Robot was released with a record 2,250 prints and has created hysteria in south India and all over the world including Dubai and Malaysia, in Hindi speaking territories, the shows were few, less than one-third of the shows given to its competitive-release Anjaana Anjaani. But the rave reviews and positive publicity Robot has generated is set to change the trend, Mr Nahta said. "Rajinikanth doesn't run other than in South India. But now hall owners have realised that the movie is a hit and will get more shows in the second week."
Even Mr Pandey agreed with this. He said, "We are not a country but a continent. Regional differences will be there. Mr Rajinikanth will not be what Mr Bachchan is in the Hindi-speaking belt. So Mr Bachchan will not be what Mr Rajinikanth is in those areas."
So is the new record going to change the landscape of Indian cinema and set a new precedent? Mr Pandey differs. He told Moneylife, "These things (box-office collections) are very difficult to evaluate (in the context of) one film against the other. Because of the differences in the ticket rate and circumstances in the days of Sholay or DDLJ compared to now. But, obviously it is hugely successful. I can't compare one against the other. It's like comparing Sachin Tendulkar with Don Bradman."
Robot is the most expensive Indian film ever made with a price tag of Rs150 crore. The robots used in the movie cost around Rs4.8 crore each, according to a press release from the Sun Network. About Rs60 crore has been spent on special effects. The climax has been shot on a set that cost Rs5 crore where Rajinikanth fights with 100 robots that are similar to him.