Aishwarya Ramesh

'Shot On OnePlus' virus themed movie releases on Disney+ Hotstar

The feature-length film is meant to highlight the smartphone’s camera capabilities, and is now streaming on Disney+ Hotstar.

Shooting content on mobile phones has proven to be a game changer for advertising and entertainment folks alike these days. During the first COVID-induced lockdown, beginning in March 2020, many admen and women resorted to using iPhones to shoot footage needed for their commercials.

Recently, leading China-based consumer electronics company OnePlus released a feature-length film, titled ‘2024’, in association with Vikramaditya Motwane’s Andolan Production, Big Bad Wolf Studios, and Odd and Even Productions. The 60-minute action thriller has been released exclusively on Disney+ Hotstar and aims to take OnePlus’ ‘Shot on OnePlus’ campaign forward.

Over a video call with afaqs!, Saurabh Kapoor, head of brand and category marketing, OnePlus India, says that it was a natural extension of the brand’s campaign to want to team up with Motwane’s production house. Motwane is a known name in Bollywood for some of the movies and shows he’s worked on, including the likes of AK vs AK, Sacred Games, Lootera, Dev D and Udaan.

Saurabh Kapoor
Saurabh Kapoor

“We want this project to serve as an inspiration for budding filmmakers, who may not have access to sophisticated equipment. Vikram (Motwane) told us that another advantage the camera has is, because of its size, it can go into nooks and corners where regular film cameras can’t go,” mentions Kapoor.

Most of the film takes place at night and Kapoor says that Motwane told him that the night mode on OnePlus’ camera will be a helpful feature in this regard.

Kapoor adds that smartphone sales grew by nearly 55 per cent this year, during the pandemic. “With this pandemic, there are a lot of first-time Internet users, who’re getting access through mobile phones. Customers are looking for a personalised experience. We focused on brand and community building during the pandemic.”

Expert critique

For Carlton D'Silva, co-founder, House Of Awe, it's a good attempt at creating promotional content, but it’s not particularly new and has been done before. “If the topic was a little more intriguing, I would’ve been more interested in the film. This movie is coming out at a time when people have heard many stories along the same lines. So, it may not interest the viewers.”

As far as the exercise itself goes, D'Silva says that it’s a good way to highlight the phone’s features, but the storyline could have been better. With the third COVID wave looming overhead and a new variant on the horizon, people may be less receptive to the storyline.

Carlton D'Silva
Carlton D'Silva

“At this time, people may want to hear about stories of hope. To me, this subject doesn’t invoke interest. If they had shot a film like The Blair Witch Project, which is quite experimental in nature, I’d be interested.”

Apple’s latest iPhone 13 Pro has also been dubbed as a handset which provides a cinematic experience, and this may be OnePlus’ response to that.

“The competition between Apple and OnePlus is similar to the rivalry you see between cola brands – Coke and Pepsi. Apple didn’t create full-length feature film and, instead, opted to create snackable content. OnePlus took it to another level by creating a whole feature film. Both of them took different routes, when it came to creating promotional content, but the purpose of both is ultimately the same – to prove the phone’s camera capabilities,” D'Silva says.

Rajiv Rao, a filmmaker (Nirvana Films and ex-NCD at Ogilvy), calls it a good effort and says it doesn't look like a film shot on a phone. “It’s a great idea and the film looks professionally done. It’s a good way to demonstrate the video capabilities of the phone.”

Rajiv Rao
Rajiv Rao

Rao adds that this is an indirect message of sorts to vloggers and aspiring filmmakers, who want to create content, but don’t necessarily have the budget to do so. “Every new generation of mobile phones is superior to the last one. This is a great way to talk about the phone’s video and audio features. Social media is full of filmmakers, and this is a good way to draw them in,” he signs off.

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