By Malay Desai
Adhesive brand Fevicol has launched a new film centered around the annual tradition of Dahi Handi, i.e. human pyramids in Mumbai and Maharashtra. The film begins with a tower being made up of men and boys in a narrow lane, culminating in the ‘handi’ being broken. Just then, a nearby boy points at another handi in the neighbourhood, and the pyramid decides to move, in all its structure. The film follows this travelling pyramid through bylanes and corners. In the end, it is revealed that one of the men in the pyramid is wearing a t-shirt with Fevicol’s logo behind it.
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Prahlad Kakar, who I need not introduce to you regular Impact reader, often carries with him a show-reel of sorts, a DVD of India’s most memorable ad films, many his own, to the various talks and events he attends in the capacity of ad guru. It features at least two of Fevicol’s iconic television commercials from the past decade or so. Here’s another he will surely add.
One might argue that when the weight of expectations is heavy, things take a while. And a while indeed does the team at Pidilite and its long-standing agency Ogilvy & Mather take, to come up with films. The wait proves to be worth it, in most cases, and every Indian exposed to television in the past 20 years will recall and smile on recalling Fevicol’s great works.
The best part about Fevicol ads is that they’re films. They are stories, worlds unto themselves within the 60 or 70 second timeframe. They have characters so solidly portrayed, so effectively cast, they’re never remembered as ‘actors’, but ‘that guy’ from the Fevicol ad.
That’s the thing with making ‘films.’ Films take long to produce, and I’m sure with the setting and extras used in this one, 160 people I read in a report, it took a while. But what are a few months of production for an ad that is going to be etched in public memory for decades? This one, thanks to its signature storytelling, is right up there with the classics of the Fevicol genre – unmistakably desi and incredibly simple.
The Fevicol films we all love have ideas as heroes – the idea of the unbreakable egg, the idea of the clever man using Fevi-Stik to catch fish, the idea of an overloaded Indian truck. Here, the hero is the production too. The non-descript chawls of Mumbai, the dingy bylanes bathed in muddy water and the pyramid moving through them are stunning to watch, as they’ve been shot deftly by Corcoise Films.
And why must Fevicol not be bothered about launching a TVC about Dahi Handi (an August festival) in February? I think you know by now, that the brand knows its films are timeless.
Well played, Piyush Pandey, Prasoon Pandey & team. Stick around doing such work!
(To watch this commercial, enter ‘bit.ly/Feb22ad in your browser)
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