We have the Himalayas, boat races in Kerala, a handful of Royal Bengal tigers still left and Jodhpur, which looks colouring-book pretty from the Mehrangarh fort. Unfortunately, the rest of the world knows them as well as we do thanks to Google and Wikipedia.
So no wonder, a tourism ad for the country can end up looking like a boring string of cliches made to look pretty in the edit room. If you have seen the Bengal Leads ad, you’ll know what we are talking about.
However, the new Incredible India ad glosses over all of that, but unlike so many tourism ads made before, leaves you with a pleasant bittersweet aftertaste – much like the country you live in, the country it is advertising.
Made by Prakash Varma of Nirvana Films of the Zoo Zoo ad films fame, what works for the advertisement is the way it discards the patronising tone, that’s a staple with these films. It doesn’t look at a visitor’s journey across India from our point of view, it tries to capture India from the experience of an outsider unfamiliar with its heat, crowds and colour.
So there’s no edification of how gloriously warm and welcoming we are, how chivalrous and spiffy British etiquette-educated too. Instead, the woman visitor is shown taking in the pleasant quirks of an average Indian – an animated nod, an unabashedly inquisitive question posed in broken English and a heavy south Indian accent.
The film tells you how a Rajasthani mural of an elaborately moustached Rajput king will creep you out, only before you meet a man with a similar visage, who will be warm, funny and indulgent. Or how, while you cough at the smell of large heaps of red chillies, women in India make a livelihood out of them.
It doesn’t spoon-feed India to an outsider. It teases one with the warmth behind the awkwardness and tells you how India’s an awesome country to try figuring out!
Check out the video below: