Build­ing Bridges

Law & Ken­neth Saatchi & Saatchi cre­ates a Kash­mir mon­tage, pro­duced by Kent RO.

The Brand Reporter - - EDITORIAL / CONTENTS - By Su­nit Roy su­

Law & Ken­neth Saatchi & Saatchi high­lights the Kash­mir is­sue.

Kash­mir has mes­merised mil­lions of peo­ple the world over with its inim­itable scenic beauty. With pic­ture per­fect snow-clad moun­tains, steep val­leys, rich flora and fauna, and flow­ing rivers, Kash­mir un­doubt­edly is an epit­ome of mys­tic beauty. Of late, how­ever, Kash­mir — fondly known as ‘par­adise on earth’ — has lost its charm due to con­tin­ued ter­ror­ism and po­lit­i­cal tur­moil.

To bring back the glory of Kash­mir and let vis­i­tors re­joice in the won­der­ful mem­o­ries of the land, Bol­ly­wood leg­ends Amitabh Bachchan and Hema Malini, have come to­gether to spread the mes­sage of one­ness through a short film — ‘Vaadi-e-Kash­mir’. The film, pro­duced by wa­ter pu­ri­fier brand KENT RO Sys­tems, show­cases the warmth, one­ness, and love that we ‘In­di­ans’ share with Kash­mir and its peo­ple and gives us a way to cel­e­brate it as a na­tion.

Con­cep­tu­alised by Praveen Ken­neth, Chair­man, Law & Ken­neth Saatchi & Saatchi, the film has been di­rected by fa­mous Bol­ly­wood film­maker Pradeep Sarkar while mu­si­cal trio Shankar-Eh­saan-Loy has com­posed the mu­sic for the six-anda-half-minute-long video.

The film opens with an in­tro­duc­tion by Amitabh Bachchan in his rich bari­tone fol­lowed by Amir Khus­rau’s fa­mous cou­plet “Agar Fir­daus bar roy-e za­min ast, hamin ast-o hamin ast-o hamin ast” (If there is a par­adise on earth, it is this, it is this, it

The film has been di­rected by fa­mous Bol­ly­wood film­maker Pradeep Sarkar. “Sin­gu­larly, the idea was to build bridges be­tween Kash­mir and the rest of the na­tion, as that’s the only way to start any mean­ing­ful progress. So, we were crit­i­cal to en­sure it doesn’t end up be­com­ing a tourism ad,” PRAVEEN KEN­NETH

is this) de­scrib­ing Kash­mir’s beauty. What fol­lows are sights across the re­gion as a group of young­sters travel through the land.

The back­ground score in Urdu, writ­ten by the leg­endary poet, lyri­cist, and film di­rec­tor, Gulzar, “Chal chalenge char chanaaron se milenge... Aye Vaadi-e-Kash­mir ba­haron se milenge”, touches an emo­tional chord and is metic­u­lously wo­ven into the ad film. The video ends with Hema Malini urg­ing ev­ery In­dian to come to­gether as one na­tion and send love and af­fec­tion to the Kash­miris by writ­ing mes­sages and post­ing Kash­mir sto­ries through www.dilsekash­mir. com — a web­site launched as part of this campaign.

“We do a lot of CSR (Cor­po­rate So­cial Re­spon­si­bil­ity) ac­tiv­i­ties. We thought Kash­mir, as a sub­ject, will bring about a change in the minds of the peo­ple and that is how this film was con­ceived. So, this is not at all an ad campaign or a brand film, but rather a CSR ini­tia­tive and we are not spend­ing any money for its pro­mo­tion. One should not re­late this film to Kent RO ex­cept for the fact that it was pro­duced by the brand,” says Ma­hesh Gupta, Chair­man, Kent RO.

“In this film, Hema Malini is not seen as the brand am­bas­sador of Kent RO, but as an In­dian for whom Kash­mir holds a spe­cial place in her heart. Amitabh Bachchan is not the brand am­bas­sador and we haven’t paid him for his val­ued con­tri­bu­tion to the film; be­cause of his love and af­fec­tion for Kash­mir, he vol­un­teered to be part of this campaign,” Gupta adds.

The film was re­leased by Home Min­is­ter Ra­j­nath Singh on var­i­ous on­line plat­forms in­clud­ing Face­book, Twit­ter, In­sta­gram, and YouTube. The ad shows Kash­mir through the eyes of tourists, some­thing sim­i­lar to the Ra­jasthan or West Ben­gal Tourism ads. So afaqs! Re­porter asked Ken­neth — un­like the other state tourism cam­paigns this film has no sin­gle brand am­bas­sador, why?

He re­sponded, “This was meant to be a CSR ini­tia­tive to cre­ate aware­ness about Kash­mir. Its pur­pose is not to sell Kent RO pu­ri­fiers. And nowhere is a pu­ri­fier be­ing sold. (Ma­hesh) Gupta and I be­lieve there is a so­lu­tion for Kash­mir if we have the right in­ten­tion to find it and the first so­lu­tion is to get peo­ple to know each other and get closer. Noth­ing in this en­tire project seems force fit­ted or try­ing to change the world.

“Sin­gu­larly, the idea was to build bridges be­tween Kash­mir and the rest of the na­tion, as that’s the only way to start any mean­ing­ful progress. So, we were very crit­i­cal to en­sure it doesn’t end up be­com­ing a tourism ad,” he adds.

Shoot­ing the film was quite a chal­lenge as the crew had to get into Kash­mir just two days af­ter the Amar­nath Pil­grims were shot. “The sit­u­a­tion was very very tense and (Pradeep) Sarkar had a crew of 100 peo­ple flown in to en­sure we fin­ish this in 10 days. It was a lo­gis­ti­cal night­mare to get this up and run­ning. We had to drive through known ter­ror­ist-prone ar­eas. But we had to do it. The weather was get­ting worse, but the place and most im­por­tantly, the warmth of the peo­ple of Kash­mir, made this easy,” in­forms Ken­neth. ■

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