Wednesday, August 12, 2009

அசத்தல் அட்வர்டைஸ்மென்ட் 13

When I watch wonderful advertising films on television, I really wonder what I am doing sitting in front of the laptop tappu tipping the entire day instead of being on the sets of a film. Take the recent Vodafone - 'Set your own busy callertune' film. The idea of the film is very simple. But the execution is quite cute with the 'Aerosmith'-ey tune and 'normal' voices singing their busy callertunes. Would have loved to have worked on this kind of a film.

Today's Asatthal advertisement is not about Vodafone. The Times of India- A day in the life of Chennai film released at a time when the Nakka mukka fever was at its peak. Fell in love with the film completely when I saw it the first time on one of the tamizh channels. An ad for an English daily in Tamizh... with a tamizh song... How cool is that?

With a line like 'A day in the life of Chennai' one could have stuck to the cliche` - A collage film with images of Chennai starting with Marina beach, Kapali kovil, Jasmine flowers, Madisar maamis, Santhome church and so on. But this film portrays the same through the life of a cardboard cut-out which is so.... typically Madras.[finding it difficult to write Chennai time and again... could we stick to Madras please?]

In a minute and a half you watch the rise and fall of the cut-out. A leading actor's cut-out transforms itself into a leading politician's cut-out. Koothhu , kummalam , crackers happen as they celebrate their thalaivar's success. Police tadiyadi follows and the cut-out becomes a scare crow in the end. LOL! The most amazing part of adfilms is that they narrate stories in seconds and yes, minutes. Most adfilms are about thirty seconds long. This one's a minute and a half and the entire story is narrated in this time frame.

Honestly I thought it was directed by a Tamilian or atleast someone from the South. A little research and got to know that the director of the film is Shashanka Chaturvedi, known as Bob in the adfilm world. Vikram Kalra is the producer. Together they run this production house called Good morning films based out of Mumbai. Jason West, who was the cinematographer for Luck by Chance Rock on is the director of photography and Nitya Mehra, the chief assistant director on this film . The music is ofcourse by Vijay Anthony, sung by Madurai Chinnaponnu.

Senthil Kumar of JWT is the brain behind the core thought of the film. It was Bob who created the look and feel. A lot of research has gone into incorporating the nuances . For example ,the paal-abhishegam (milk-pouring on the cut-out) was Bob's idea and coming from a non-tam background, he must have put in a lot of work in detailing and it shows.Bob has no formal training in adfilms, is a college drop-out and started his career in Channel [V] in the production department . Later , he moved to Adfilmwallahs, a well-known production house that directs ad films, worked with them for eight years before branching out to start his own outfit 'Good morning films' along with Vikram.

Surprisingly, the choice of music did not come from the ad agency... it came from Bob who had heard in a night club in Malaysia. He didn't know the lyrics but knew how it sounded like and went hunting for the song. Senthil wrote the lyrics for the song in this film.

The guy in the cut-out was sourced through a casting agent and was chosen after photographing him in different outfits. Rajkumar, a friend of Bob's who had worked with them earlier helped them immensely in choosing the right locations for the film.

Winning a Golden Lion at the Cannes film festival is like winning an Oscar for the best film.When this film was being sent to the Cannes film festival, not many people [from the Indian adfilm industry] thought it would win. After all, it was competing against several other ad films across the world including our very own, Vodafone Zoozoos . Had worked with Senthil on another occasion and would wait for his facebook updates on the nominations for Film Lions. Was maha thrilled when I got to know that the Times of India film was nominated ... and Zoozoos weren't. he he. Even then, wasn't sure of its winning chances 'coz one hadn't seen the other films nominated in the same category from across the world. It was a double whammy when the film was nominated for the best use of music as well. What joy!

The suspense through the Cannes' grand finale weekend was killing me. Has the TOI film won? Will team JWT bring India's first Film lions? It was Sunday morning and TOI carried the good news on its front page. The Times of India Chennai film had won two golds - Gold Lions for the best ad film and for the best use of music! I was exhilarated! India's first Film Lions for a film based on Chennai. Yay!!!

But... but...unfortunately like in most cases, the agency has taken the entire credit for this film. Nowhere will you find references of Bob or Vikram or Good morning films. Though the Cannes entry has the name of the film-maker in the official records, the media has completely ignored the director and his crew. I agree its a great idea... a great script from the agency but without a director's vision, it would have been impossible to create this magic on screen. It is like giving credit of Slumdog millionaire's music to Danny Boyle. It saddens me when I hear the agency's creative headhoncho's name all over - some of the articles even giving the entire credit to the agency as the 'director of the film' and no mention of Bob anywhere. Read this , this and you will understand what I am saying.

That's the sad part of adfilms unlike feature films. The director / production house never get the credit. Its so typical of agency guys to snatch the credit from the people who deserve it the most.

This is a small attempt to give some sort of coverage to the guys who brought glory to India by winning our first Film Lions at the Cannes. Bob and team... you rock!

Presenting, the twin-Gold winner at Cannes - The Times of India- A day in the life of Chennai...

9 Responses:

The Visitor said...

கேக்க ரொம்ப குஷியா இருக்கு. :)


Boss, this is the year of the Thamizhan. Vazhga, vazhga

enRenRum-anbudan.BALA said...

சுவாரசியமா எழுதியிருக்கீங்க, ஒரு விளம்பரப் படம் வெற்றி அடைய எவ்வளவு பேருடைய உழைப்பு இருக்கு !!! Great Team effort.

//It saddens me when I hear the agency's creative headhoncho's name all over - some of the articles even giving the entire credit to the agency as the 'director of the film' and no mention of Bob anywhere.
This is "Indian" mentality. Not giving devil its due is bad enough but taking complete credit upon the film's success is in bad taste.

Silly minded morons !!!

MLC said...

wow! thnx fr sharing this info and hv to mention yr effort in finding out all those behind this ad and putting it up here, so we know who was actually behind the makin of this winner!!

Sreekrishnan said...

great info, i never knew so much behind this... very happy that this won the award ! made my day ! i had downloaded it sometime back and play this song in my car

i think the lyrics deserve special mention- amazingly captured the entire story in a crispy manner !

ambi said...

//Times of India film was nominated ... and Zoozoos weren't. he he//

enna oru villathanam.. :))

Anonymous said...

wow. that was informative. but isn't that always the case b? the one who can talk best gets credit, the one who works, only works.

kedarnath gupta said...

i know exactly what you mean. here's another worrying trend. in the case of feature films, the director takes the cake and nobody can recall who wrote the story / came up with the idea in the first place.

Has to be me said...

oh la la!