This Ambuja Cement film came much before the Ford Figo Dilli Mohalla video I shared last week (on LinkedIn: http://bit.ly/2JUR8ZF), but I saw it only now.
The connecting thread between both films is that they have a non-living entity acting as the narrator of the story of their surrounding – the Figo car in the Ford film and literally ‘roofs’, in this evocative film.
I believe this film overstays its welcome given the 4+ minute runtime, though that’s is more to do with our collective lack of patience than the film’s narrative chops.
The nuances utilized in the script are beautiful – the little umpire with foggy glasses, the exuberantly expressive wife during the kite-flying scene (and the husband being stunned by how excited his wife is… perhaps for a change, away from her submissive self in front of others in the family), the Hanuman-pushups that intentionally starts from a different angle to keep us guessing, the 3 adolescent boys gawking at the young woman, the fantastic, surprise last-minute manoeuvre during holi – the snippets made me long for the simpler times depicted here. And full credit to the seamlessness with which so many small incidents are woven so well into the script.
It did strike me that the scenes and situations depicted in this film are decidedly ‘North Indian’. They are definitely not new or alien to people from other parts of the country since those have been often seen in Hindi films and TV serials anyway, but they might also see it as a tourist would, without the lived-in knowledge that people in the ‘North’ may see it and relate it innately.
However, while Figo was a named, visible brand telling the story of Dilli’s mohallas, the invisible, implied Ambuja Cement brand (literally plastered-pun unintended-in the end) is a very indirect and distant beneficiary in this effort.
With the Figo video, the shots of the Figo moving in the area it is talking about the streets was contextually relevant and not merely gratuitous. Those shots help remember the film as a ‘Ford-wala film’ and not just a Discovery Channel film, for instance.
But in this Ambuja Cement film, while there is very high relatability with the concept itself, given the variety of interesting human connections and emotions on display, the brand seems completely lost despite all of it happening purportedly on top of the brand. I’d perhaps struggle to remember it as an Ambuja Cement film (one reason for me to put the brand name in the post title, to help with the recall, if at all), and may simply recall it later as Gulzar’s film on roofs.
Narrator – Gulzar
Conceived by Ullas Chopra, NCD, Triton Communications
Music: Arjunna Harjaie
Singer: Surabhi Dashaputra and Arjunna Harjaie
Song written by Surabhi Dashaputra