By Malay Desai
From: Mumbai, Kolkata
Realty portal CommonFloorhas launched a new series of web films that celebrate cities of India. The Mumbai film takes the narrative form of a poetry, its visuals depicting a day in the life of the city and its common characters. The three-and-a-half minute film winds up with the firm’s logo and URL, before the credits. The Kolkata film, created by a different production house, impersonates key elements of the city, such as a boat, Howrah bridge and a taantsaree. It uses five narrators and is in English, compared to the Mumbai one being in Hindi.
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Google ‘Find home Mumbai’ and you will be thrown over a crore results, but the very first one, after the sponsored ones, belongs to a realty portal that wasn’t really up there this time last year. But efficient SEO (search engine optimization) isn’t the only thing CommonFloor.com has done right since landing a multi-million dollar investmentin 2013,it has also made films such as these.
The other players of the category – Magicbricks, 99acres and Indiahomes have tried the humour route, the ‘flash your wares’ route and more, but I, incidentally a house-hunter from the past year or so, haven’t eagerly explored them. CF’s first TVC in August, an eccentric spoof ofa corny horror film, made me do it. These films will push me to go there again.
The one element that realty brands, especially in the TV/web media miss out on while advertising is to celebrate cities. In their low-budget scrambles to seek buyers, they stick to the basics, and forget that the potential buyer is already cluttered with a dozen brands in his mobile, desktop and TV.
Commonfloor, with due help from some seriously talented production houses in Mumbai and Kolkata, has broken the clutter by celebrating the two cities in a way only newspaper brands can. ‘The City that Never Sleeps’ may sound like another Bombay short made by a BMM student with a film editor friend, but it looks fresh, devoid of dabbawala clichés. The narrative pauses are relevant, the colours alive, the fade-ins beautiful and the characters real. The hero of the film is poet Satyanshu Singh, of Udaan fame, who has penned breezy, caressing words.
The Kolkata film, titled Nimantran, is higher on grandeur andmore pointed with its narrative. Its camera closes in on fingers and textures more than skies and waters in the earlier case.My only peeve, why is it not in Bengali?
Both films, like their 1-BHK rates,are like chalk and cheese, with different production houses and approaches. The only singular thread is the final branding, and that’s enough to charm the millions in both cities.
After Kindle’s stunning film earlier, here’s hoping long-winding celebratory web films is our ad world’s latest trend.
To watch the Mumbai film, feed ‘bit.ly/CFmumbai’in your browser
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