SRINAGAR: Kashmir’s promotional film launched last weekend has created record of sorts by crossing 50 lakh views in quite a few days. Aimed at rediscovering the traditional hospitality, rarely seen at other tourist destinations, Chief Minister Ms Mehbooba Mufti used the film to break her ‘twitter fast’ even after having the account for more than a year.
Watching the success of the promotional video, the government is planning now its re-launch in four other languages: Telgu, Malayalam, Gujarati and Marathi.
“Times have changed and now there is a possibility of directly getting in touch with the client,” Mehmood Ahmad, Director Tourism Kashmir, said. “Unlike other tourist states we have barely started but we want to have strong foundations for the new challenges.”
Mehmood said though the film crossed 32 lakh on the tourism’s official account; it had more than 18 lakh views on other platforms. “The IT has given us the flexibility of talking to the client directly skipping the formal media, both TV and the print and so far this was successful,” he said. “Now we are planning dubbing it in four regional languages to ensure it reaches the people who usually come to Kashmir.” Maharashtra, Gujarat and West Bengal have remained traditional visitors to Kashmir.
“We used all available spaces to ensure that more and more people watch these five minutes,” one official associated with the exercise said. “It is a work still in progress.”
It was shared by Bollywood celebrities like Karan Johar, Imtiaz Ali and Alia Bhatt on their social networking accounts that gave it an endorsement to a different audience. Karan Johar shared the film on Twitter writing “The beauty and warmth of Kashmir.” Actress Alia Bhatt, who was busy shooting in Kashmir, said the film truly captures the essence of Kashmir. “This short film truly captures the essence of Kashmir!!! The warmest place on earth! Please watch!” she tweeted. Raveena Tandon while tweeting the film wrote in Kashmiri: “Deenuk tham chhuy seenas pyath the religion of kashmir mezbaani che duniyahas manz mashoor te maruf.”
The video tells a short story of an apparently newlywed couple, roles played byShreya Dhanwanthary and Naveen Polishetty – who mistook a waiting tan red van as their driver. After spending the day with Mir, the “driver”, they eventually come to know that he was not the driver at all. When confronted, he tells them that he thought he should show “the friends”, his home, Kashmir. It shows the breathtaking landscape with a powerful song of “melancholy and happiness” dominating the picture.
While the Home Minister Rajnath Singh and BJP leader Ram Madhav has also retweeted the Chief Minister’s tweet, the political executives in the state are watching when will the tweet come from PMO.
Warmest Place on Earth, as the 5-minute video is named, was released to counter “the negative portrayal of Kashmir” by media, especially TV. Kashmir has witnessed only one successful tourist year since September 2014 floods. Authorities blame bad TV for the successive failure of the tourist seasons.
“The positivity and warmth in Kashmir is not highlighted by national media – perhaps good news is not news,” says Mehmood. “With this film, we tried to captures one of the countless heartwarming stories of hospitality that you will find in Kashmir.”
The release of the film is being followed up by aggressively marketing Kashmir for winter tourism, officials said. “So far responses are good,” one officer said.
The film conceptualised by J. Walter Thompson was directed and shot by Amit Sharma of Chrome Pictures. He was himself impressed by the hospitality that he witnessed during shooting of the film. “It was first time that in a tourism film, someone was trying to talk not just about the beauty of the kand but about the people as well,” one of the professionals who accompanied him in teh project quoted Sharma saying. “The innocence that thrives in this land can be fund nowhere else. I was humbled by the hospitality of the place.”
Here are the Kashmii lyrics of the film:
Ba-ha chaani maayey.
Emi taap-a kraayey.
Zaayyi kernas hooo
kyah kar tse ros ba.
Yath lola naaye.
Zaayyi kernas hooo.
Yemi chaani shahrek,
Vopran chashma wathrawan.
Heraan kernas chani jaaye
Zaayi karnus ba.
Zuna gaashi manz,
Yusuf banith chi draakh Dal saaelus.
Laaraan pata ches
Zaayi kerthas ba.