Deconstructing the J&K Tourism ad everyone's talking about

By Suraj Ramnath , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Digital | September 27, 2017
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Titled Kashmir - The Warmest Place on Earth, the five-minute-long film, has been created by JWT India and shot by Amit Sharma's Chrome Pictures.

When was the last time you saw an ad for tourism that didn't focus too much on the location's scenic beauty and landscape? Despite knowing that it's nothing less than heaven on earth, negative news being broadcast about the situation in Kashmir for the last few years has created a sense of fear in the minds of travellers. Thus, people tend to look at other destinations as holiday options.

To change this perception of Kashmir and the Kashmiris, Jammu & Kashmir Tourism has come up with a new campaign, 'Kashmir - The Warmest Place on Earth', that doesn't focus on just the landscape, but also highlights the warmth of the Kashmiris towards visitors. The ad has been conceptualised by JWT India, directed by Amit Sharma and produced by Chrome Pictures.

Senthil Kumar Senthil Kumar

Amit Sharma Amit Sharma

We asked Senthil Kumar, chief creative officer, JWT, about the dos and don'ts while making a tourism ad. He says, "I don't know about the don'ts, but the dos are to create magic around what the place is all about; to make it a destination for travellers to look at positively."

Explaining the shift of focus from the tradition of simply showcasing the landscape, Kumar says, "There are a lot of negatives about Kashmir. The idea itself is about changing the conversation. To go to a paradise like Kashmir where people are so warm hearted is what Kashmir is all about. It was really not about showcasing every nook and corner of the state, but to showcase the powerful emotion of warmth."

The ad has been shot in Srinagar, Dal Lake and Pahalgam. Talking about the challenges faced while shooting, Amit Sharma, co-founder and director, Chrome Pictures, says, "When you go to Kashmir, the first challenge is where to shoot since it is so beautiful. I shot so much footage that during our editing, it became a major challenge to figure out what to keep and what to edit out; I didn't want to make too long a film."

He adds, "I wanted to shoot in natural light so we had to stop our shoot in-between and wait for the right lighting. Generally, I shot in the morning and evening because the rest of the time the light is flat, that was another challenge. We shot for four days and captured 22 locations."

Review

We asked our experts to review the ad and this is what they had to say:-

Anish Varghese Anish Varghese

Kailash Surendranath Kailash Surendranath

Anish Varghese, national creative director, Isobar India, a digital agency from the stable of Dentsu Aegis Network, says, "It's great; they are trying to address the biggest worry for family travellers. Family travellers may think twice before they choose Kashmir because of political reasons. Here they are addressing the beauty of Kashmir with the friendly nature of people and their hospitality. There are some excellent shots, which definitely makes it a visual extravaganza."

He adds, "The film could have been a little shorter, however I completely respect the crafters creative freedom."

Kailash Surendranath, ad film maker and founder of Kailash Picture Company, a film production company, finds the theme and script to be perfect. He says, "This is the right approach to counter the periodic bad publicity that discourages Indian visitors. Kashmiris are always, in my experience, hospitable and proud of their land and truly this is the warmest place on earth."

He adds, "I thought the casting was perfect, very authentic and the actors worked well as the kind of young couple that would travel there from anywhere in India. The director has captured natural romantic moments between them. The soundtrack is moving and adds emotion to the visuals. Some of the visuals of Kashmir I thought were new, non-typical and quite magnificent. Though the visual beauty of Kashmir is not really the focus of this film, it does come through effortlessly nonetheless. Other attractive features of Kashmir are also beautifully shown without undue emphasis, such as the food, the village and the children's faces."

According to Surendranath, the musician in the wilderness seems a bit forced. "I guess this passes as acceptable in a film promoting tourism. The one element in this film that I did feel a bit let down by however is the final reveal in the story. It does seem a bit farfetched that a total stranger will take an entire day off and drive miles and miles just to show visitors the land he is so proud of. I wish this thought could have been brought out a little differently by the writer; otherwise, it's a wonderful film."

Credits:

Agency: JWT
Chief Creative Officer: Senthil Kumar
Executive Creative Director: Nakul Sharma and Tirtha Ghosh
Executive Business Director and VP: Jaibeer Ahmed
Account Management: Anish Thakur, Muniba Naushad
Creative: Partha Sengupta, Priyadarshi Khastgir
Production house: Chrome Pictures
Director : Amit Sharma
Producer : Poonam Wahi
Music Director : Clinton Cerejo
Singers: Vibha Saraf and Mudassir Ali
Lyrics: Shah Faisal

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