Kohinoor Basmati Rice – When boundaries divide, but taste unites

Kohinoor Basmati Rice’s latest ad film, launched on the eve of Independence Day, weaves a budding modern love story of an Indian boy and a Pakistani girl to showcase how both India and Pakistan, despite the border hostilities, are united in several similar tastes, one of them being the taste for Kohinoor Basmati Rice.

Set in an upscale New York setting, the latest film for Kohinoor Basmati Rice for its international markets, conceptualised by Crayons Advertising, Delhi, is a sweet blend of the bittersweet relation of friendship between an Indian boy and a Pakistani girl.

Directed by Ravi Jain of Venus Productions, the film revolves around the age old comparison between the two countries, which is personified through conversations on cricket to music, to the traditional authentic biryani between a Delhi boy and a Lahore girl.

This is the first time when Kohinoor Basmati Rice is focussing on its international consumers in the US through the bond of the two nations, with an approach of friendship through a modern day scenario in an American multinational.

Ranjan-BargotraSpeaking on the creative insight behind the film, Ranjan Bargotra, President, Crayons Advertising, said, “The film is aimed at the Indian diaspora settled overseas. In an overseas set-up, Indians and Pakistanis have the greatest bonding, despite whatever rivalries that the countries have. Secondly, our food habits are the same and Basmati rice is a staple part of the cuisine of both Indians and Pakistanis. For example, in the UK, 60 per cent of ur consumers are Muslims. The nationalities get blurred in a foreign country and we are seen as one community.”

Continuing further, he said, “So far, most of the Indian brands have been doing two kinds of advertising – one is you take a bite and suddenly you are transported back to the country, with its mustard fields and Bhangra; it’s all been done to death. Second is the typical household setting. Kohinoor is an international brand and is sold in 50 countries across the globe, so what happens is that it rises above nationalities. Hence, the thought process of highlighting the common love that binds us together. We might differ on other aspects like cricket or films, but what brings us together is the food. And that is what we have portrayed in the film.”

Rondeep Gogoi, Creative Director, Crayons Advertising, Delhi, elaborated, “The brand tagline says ‘True Taste Unites’ and the markets where this campaign was to be released were the US and UK. The majority of the TG is South Asians – Indians, Bangladeshis, and Pakistanis. So I thought, what about creating a love story and how the brand plays cupid and brings the two people together. Now it was necessary to create some kind of conflict between the two characters for the love story to move towards a happy ending. Hence, I thought of an Indian boy from Delhi and a Pakistani girl from Lahore meeting at their office in New York. They don’t start off on a friendly note and there are differences, but when they both reach for a packet of Kohinoor at a store, they begin to realise that they are not so different after all and it acts as an ice-breaker.”

“Because of budget constraints we shot the film in India instead of New York and the executive has come out well and has been getting great reviews,” he added.


KV Sridhar KV Sridhar
According to KV Sridhar, Chief Creative Officer, Sapient Nitro, the intent was good and the idea was a beautiful one, however, he felt that the India-Pakistan theme had been overused in brand communication. “The execution looks like it is a staged ad. For instance, if you remember the Google Reunion ad, it felt like the story was unfolding in front of you; The Times of India’s ‘Aman Ki Aasha’ film too – the stories felt real and you could relate to them. Somehow, in this case they wanted to make the set-up very premium. It seems very calibrated and doesn’t come from the heart.”

“There is nothing wrong in looking like a commercial, but you need to make the entire thing look very real. When it comes to India-Pakistan relations, the story has to be really touching and very rich. All the ingredients are there to make it a great film, the insight is very beautiful because food is such strong binding force. I hope that they take it forward and come up with something much bigger,” he added.

Harish-Bijoor-new Harish Bijoor
Echoing similar views, Harish Bijoor of Harish Bijoor Consults, said, “I find the creative a bit too long and a bit too contrived. The storyline has it, but somehow the execution misses it. The story of bonding through a common brand is a cliché today and managing this cliché is a matter of high skill.”

Saurabh Dasgupta Saurabh Dasgupta
On the other hand, Saurabh Dasgupta, Executive Creative Director, Innocean, said, “I liked the film, because first of all it tries to do the job of bridging India and Pakistan, which is a much bigger agenda than selling rice. It attempts a larger good than just selling great quality rice. Secondly, I also like the way it tackles the perception that while people from both India and Pakistan may think that they are different, but at different levels they are similar.”

He further said, “The basic insight is very relatable, even though the film has been made for the TG abroad, it will work equally well in India. And I think the film has been cast very well, especially the Pakistani girl – her transformation from being stiff about the whole thing to becoming friendly over a meal – I think that’s been handled pretty well.”


Client: Kohinoor Foods

Creative agency: Crayons Advertising, New Delhi

Agency President: Ranjan Bargotra

Creative Director: Rondeep Gogoi

Production House: Venus Productions

Director: Ravi Jain

Producer: Anil Jain

Executive Producer: Varsha Krishnani, Muskaan Khan Thakur

DoP: Kumara Swamy

Art Director: Suresh Selvarajan

Music Director: Anurag Saikia

Sound Designer: Rishi Oberoi

First Assistant Director: Khyati Gosar

Director’s Assistant: Aditi Sarda

Direction Intern: Nitin Kumar

Production Manager: Manoj Gupta

Post Production House: Prana Studios/ Splice Studioz/ Nube

Online Editor: Augustine Norhonha

Offline Editor: Abhishek Seth, Shiva Bayappa

Courtesy: Bestmediainfo