Apart from creating and producing TV commercials for regular corporate clients, Code Red Films in association with McCann Erickson’s Creative Directors Raghu Bhat and Manish Bhatt have brought out a film on blindness. The Code Red Films team comprises Director Gajraj Rao and Producer Subrat Ray.
The three-minute short film is titled ‘Hostel’. The film focusses on blind children playing and enjoying Holi. `Hostel’ has won at the recently concluded Ad Fest at Pattaya. After being aired, Amitabh Bachchan volunteered to make a contribution, and will be dubbing for this film. The new version with Bachchan’s voice is expected to go on-air soon.
With the help of facts, Bachchan will encourage donation of eyes through the film. Other celebrities who would be seen participating in the film soon include Shankar Ehsaan Loy, Amrita Arora and Rimi Sen amongst others.
The commercial was aired on YouTube, and on channels including Zoom, MTV Network, India TV, CNN-IBN, Sahara TV, Zee TV, NDTV Profit and many more, to support the cause. In many cases, VJs and anchors have also spoken about the film in various shows. Radio channels such as Radio Mirchi and Big FM are playing the song of this film on their stations.
Bhatt said, “In this commercial, we decided not to be preachy in any way. The donation part was more of an action point and was done after the film was created. This is a commercial where the message is not said.”
Prior to ‘Hostel’, another issue that this team took on was National Anthem. Bhatt explained, “That was also from a personal experience. We noticed that people don’t stand up when the anthem is being played. We wanted to make something on that issue as well that would appeal to the entire nation. The ‘Hostel’ is conceived in a similar manner.”
The National Anthem commercial was created in 2005, also played across channels and showed a lame elderly man standing, in heavy rain, on hearing the anthem.
Speaking on the production challenges in ‘Hostel’, Gajraj Rao elaborated, “Working on anything related to handicap is difficult but when it comes to blindness, it is really scary. We were wondering how we would communicate or explain the shot to the children acting in the film. But the experience was completely different. In a manner of speaking, they were more independent than one expects.”
The team is working on making the film a strong viral communication in India. “We may achieve it or we may not,” said Bhatt, “But we will definitely try. It already is gaining ground as a big celebrity endorsement communication. We also want to take it to the global platform and are already looking at some tie-ups with international eye banks.”