SRINAGAR: Kashmir tourism on Saturday released a five-minute film that highlights the exceptional hospitality that is part of Kashmir culture. The film was formally launched by the Chief Minister at a jam packed Tagore Hall.
The film Warmest Place On Earth tells the story of a couple, apparently on a honeymoon, rushed out to board a pink van that their travel agent had sent them for a trip. They board the van and move around, watch Dal lake and the shrine and eventually are seen in a meadow. There, the man gets a call from a person who tells him that he has waiting outside their hotel since morning to take them out. This shocks the couple. They get the driver and ask him if he was Mir, the taxi driver, he said he is not. The climax is the driver telling them: His master had sent him to fetch sugar from teh market and then I saw you friends and thought, why not show you my home, my Kashmir.
Throughout the gripping footage, a husky Kashmir song plays in high decibel. Sung by Mudasir Ahmad and Vibha Saraf, the powerful lyrics talks about loss and solitude.
The film was done by J Walter Thomson (India) through Chrome Productions. The story line was done by JWT executive creative directors Nakul Sharma and Tirtha Gosh as Amit Sharma directed it. JWTs Executive Business Director Jaibeer Ahmad was the overall supervisor of the project.
“Basically, everybody knows Kashmir,” Jaibeer told Kashmir Life. “We wanted to reposition that while beauty of Kashmir is a universal truth, we want to emphasise that it has legendary hospitality and is the warmest place on earth.” The skit will go with the tag line: #WarmestPlaceOnEarth.
“We present to you the most stunning feature of Kashmir,” introducing the film on its FB page, the tourism department said. “NO! Its not about the snowy peaks, gurgling streams and winding treks. Watch this moving film TILL THE END, to discover and celebrate a different side of Kashmir, the #WarmestPlaceOnEarth.”
Impressed by the final product, that was watched twice by the audience, the Chief Minister, in her brief speech, said that it will be showcased everywhere and the tourism ministry will use every possible social networking space to send the word across that Kashmir’s hospitality is legendary.
Chief Minister was highly critical of the TV coverage of Kashmir that was dominated by the aggression and turmoil. “The Kashmir they are showing on the TV is not the Kashmir we live in,” Ms Mufti said. “Everywhere when the people are in crisis youth go and rescue them.” She recounted a number of instances in which the youth went out of way to help the people in crisis. The Amarnath yatris met and accident and the Kashmiri youth were there. “Army men met and accident and youth – some of whom could have been stone pelters also, went and rescue them,” Ms Mufti said. “We have the glorious instance of the boat man killing himself in Srinagar but rescuing the tourists’ first.” These stories, she said, are not been picked by the TV to send the message across.
Director Tourism Kashmir Mahmood A Shah said that department has been promoting the destinations through beautifully shot videos and interview by the tourists besides organizing road shows, seminars.
“However, we want to go cinematic to keep up with the pace of modern day marketing campaigns. Holidayers are already aware that Kashmir is beautiful and has breathtaking tourist resorts. But the negative media publicity is keeping them away.”
He said the department wants to show to the world that despite facing tough situations here, Kashmiris are very warm to the visitors, tourists and guests.
“Kashmiris are ever hospitable. The film highlights how an average Kashmiri reacts when he receives tourists and how he hosts them. We have many examples to highlight when Kashmiris have shown utmost hospitality and ensured Kashmir is safe to travel and people are here to host them as their esteemed guests.”
He said the film is being launched on various platforms to make this endeavor a success.
“Making this watershed film is just a beginning and we will be coming up with more such films showing the real essence of the Kashmir.”