By Malay Desai
From: O&M, Mumbai
Actor Amitabh Bachchan plays himself in this 90-second spot, talking to the viewer from a homely setting. ‘Parents don’t go anywhere, they remain here’ he says, while mouthing poetic prose about how one’s parents keep finding ways to appear in their children’s and grandchildren’s lives. His voiceover is backed by images of himself in the yore, with his parents and his children, as also him going through memories such as bangles and books. The prose ends with him saying the brand’s tagline, ‘sadiyon ke liye’ (for centuries).
Do we like?
Good usage of a celebrity’ mentions must exclude works featuring Amitabh Bachchan. The man’s not just a celebrity for face value, but, especially in ads where he plays himself, he’s perceived to speak for his generation, his values, his country and in this case, his lineage. The last time he was cast charmingly in an ad was by Kalyan Jewellers where he played a village teacher. Here, in his fourth outing with the 1,800 crore cement major, he has the task to re-energise a long-term campaign that began in 2008.
The man may have the most arresting screen presence of our times but that doesn’t mean the agency spares details in the setting and production. Shooting from what appears to be the Bachchan home, filmmaker Shoojit Sircar (of Vicky Donor fame) gets the treatment spot on — sepia tones, long shots of expansive interiors and the piano background. After all, this is about a man talking on screen for 90 seconds, the same man who appears in a dozen other campaigns.
The hero of this spot is something bigger than even Big B. It’s the copy. We don’t know if credit belongs to the mustachioed mister Piyush Pandey or Mr Bachchan himself, but these are some of the most heart-warming lines you’d hear on Indian television this year. The motive may be to tap family ties, a subject every viewer is touchy about and use it to convey longevity of a cement product, but a clear beneficiary here is long-form copy writing, an art that has dwindled in the past decade owing to low attention spans and snappy approaches.
The only improvement area then is the fact that there could have been more shots of arches and pillars. The makers seem to have fallen to show photographs of Big B’s past —catchy material but where’s cement in all this? You don’t want this spot to become a PSA for loving your parents.
Mr Bachchan’supcoming Kaun Banega Crorepati season should hold up this film, but we hope the art of long copy lives on for longer, sadiyon ke liye.
To watch this film, feed this link into your browser: bit.ly/Binani