Anirban Roy ChoudhuryPublished: 21 Jul 2019, 6:41 PM

"We didn't want to make it melodramatic": Nitesh Tiwari on KBC ads

'Adey Raho' is the theme of Kaun Banega Crorepati season 11, to air soon on Sony Entertainment Television.

"We didn't want to make it melodramatic": Nitesh Tiwari on KBC ads

Amitabh Bachchan

It is that time of the year when Amitabh Bachchan greets television audiences with his hallmark line - 'Deviyon Aur Sajjano...' - as Sony Pictures Networks India gears up to air the 11th season of 'Kaun Banega Crorepati'. The Indian adaptation of the UK show - 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire' - was first aired on Star Plus in 2000. It is still recognised as a landmark moment in Indian Television history as prize money of rupees one crore was not something the market was accustomed to. It was also the first time, Amitabh Bachchan featured as a host of a TV show.

Recollecting the early years, Bachchan said last year during the launch, "Sameer Nair (then programming head of Star Plus, now CEO of Applause) took us to London to see how the show is mounted, how the host behaves, what was happening in the arena. We had no clue back then..."

It took Star five years to bring back the second season in 2005; the prize money was doubled to rupees two crore. Season three had Shah Rukh Khan as its host and that was the last time Star India aired the show on its GEC Star Plus.

It was in 2010 that Sony Entertainment Television commissioned the show and season four went on air after a three-year hiatus. To promote the show, the channel roped in creative agency Leo Burnett and the - Koi Bhi Sawaal Chota Nahi Hota - campaign was launched. That marked the beginning of Nitesh Tiwari's (who joined Leo Burnett as creative director and then became chief creative officer) journey with the KBC campaigns which continues to grow even though he left Leo Burnett and is making feature films now. 'Koi Bhi Insaan Chota Nahi Hota' followed the first Sony campaign to promote season five in 2011 (2nd time on Sony). Cut to 2019, it is season 11 and the latest campaign is called - Vishwaas Hai, Toh Khaade Raho...Adey Raho.

So, what was the brief? "When you have someone like Nitesh Tiwari making the films, you do not give him a brief, you discuss ideas," says, Aman Srivastava, head-marketing at Sony Entertainment Television. "Each time we work on the KBC campaign, there is only one brief from Dan (Danish Khan, business head, Sony) and team - continue doing the good work you have been doing," says Nitesh Tiwari, director, writer (Dangal, Bareilly Ki Barfi, Chillar Party).

The film features a woman as the lead protagonist. While her family members want her to do what they consider more suited for a young woman, i.e. get married, handle household affairs etc., she wants to chase her dream and become a successful entrepreneur by shaping her family enterprise. The film highlights how her family members stand against her during her struggle. The 90-seconder ends with her achieving her goals, being recognised as a young achiever and witnessing her family move from sorry to sublime as they sing her praises. Amitabh Bachchan's commentary flows in the background with glimpses of the iconic 'Hotseat'.

"We didn't want to make it melodramatic": Nitesh Tiwari on KBC ads

KBC Campaigns so far

"One slightly different approach that we discussed and agreed upon this time was that we would not make it melodramatic. Once we cracked the theme, we realised that presenting it with a little sense of humour will be more apt, rather than presenting it in a serious note," says Tiwari.

"We didn't want to make it melodramatic": Nitesh Tiwari on KBC ads

Aman Srivastava

Srivastava adds, "This year's campaign comes from the insight that the moment somebody wants to do something different, he or she becomes the target of society."

It did not require much digging to find the insight. "There are certain socially relevant things that are in your face," he says. The key, according to him, is to keep the context very relevant to today. "You cannot raise an issue which could have meant a lot ten years back. There are a lot of youngsters who are settling out, wanting to do something on their own and have been very successful. That is something which is very relevant today. The campaign is all about the feeling that success can come from any strata of society and all you need to do is stick to it and not give up," he says.

While one film has already hit the airwaves, another is in post-production. Sony will use its entire network (GEC, Sports, Kids, Movies, Music, Factual Entertainment) of channels to promote the films. "Digital will also play a vital role...," states Srivastava, adding, "... The shareability of KBC ads are pretty high and so, I don't see too much of investment going into promoting the show."

"We didn't want to make it melodramatic": Nitesh Tiwari on KBC ads

Nitesh Tiwari

"The biggest advantage of working on KBC is you do not need to worry about brand awareness," says Tiwari. "Each year, after we have cracked a theme and made the film, we say this is it. There is nothing more we could do and then comes another year and another challenge. It is an iconic brand with philosophy and the challenge is to retain the legacy while doing something relevant and contextual," he says summing up.

Mixed Response from the experts:

"We didn't want to make it melodramatic": Nitesh Tiwari on KBC ads

Ashish Khazanchi

Ashish Khazanchi, managing partner, Enormous Brands, says, "The 'Aadhe Raho' baseline is a very potent one which encapsulates the way middle India is currently thinking about the world around them. A lot of people will find resonance in a story like this because it is happening around us at this stage.

"The only thing that could have been better, which was the hallmark of all KBC ads, is the freshness with which the insight was treated. It is nice what we have now, but leaves you hungry for more because that's the brand that gave us absolutely fresh stories. It is certainly not a bad story, but it is not a story that I have not been exposed to in some form or the other," he opines.

"We didn't want to make it melodramatic": Nitesh Tiwari on KBC ads

KS Chakravarthy

Adman KS Chakravarthy, co-founder - Tidal7 Brand & Digital, felt its "neither bad nor great". According to him, the "connection" is missing. "Ideally, the ad should have some connection with the theme of the season that they are going to follow. In the film, they are saying be stubborn; I don't see how that is going to be reflected in the show. I can understand confidence getting reflected; I can understand small people coming all the way to KBC; I can understand women doing well in the show etc. In this particular ad, I don't know what stubbornness has to do with a game show and who the kind of people coming on the show are and how it is going to lead back..."

He adds, "The KBC campaigns started with, 'Koi Bhi Sawal Chota Nahi Hota' then moved on to 'Koi Bhi Insaan Chota Nahi Hota Hai'. There was always a connection with the main theme of the show. The ads provided a glimpse of what was going to happen on the programme, who the people coming on the show were; what the theme was. That's missing for me."