More than a year ago, I had been commissioned to make a 7-8 minute video extolling the virtues of a particular brand of TMT Steel Bars. TMT bars are used extensively in the construction industry. With its economy booming India is currently witnessing a strong growth in this sector. The rising demand has brought in new producers who are challenging the older behemoths; the established players themselves are adapting newer strategies. In other words a dog-eat-dog world…
My client was one of the newer but fast growing entrants in the market. The company had identified North Bengal and the states of North East India as one of its key areas of business. One of the company’s marketing honchos who gave us the ‘brief’ for the film explained to use that one of the key strengths of the product that was to be highlighted was its ‘extreme ability’ to withstand moisture! This was important because the target areas received high amount of rainfall and are often prone to floods. He gave as facts and figures about the product backed by R&D from ‘world-class labs’ and told us to “hammer home” these points. He told us to put stress on these technical specs as the video was meant to be shown to architects, engineers and mid-sized realtor firms.
A few days on the script, a couple of days of shoot and some more days for the post production and the film was done and dusted. Client happy… agency happy… good money, no jhanjhat… I am happy… Filed up some beer in my belly, forgot it!!!
Last week, I was returning home from a shoot in North Bengal. My neighbour on the train was a dignified man of about sixty. Soon we fell into a chit chat and after a while he asked me about my profession. I told him what I do for a living. He seemed to be impressed and asked me about some of the companies for whom I had films. I dropped a couple of names; as soon as I uttered the name of the TMT Bar manufacturer there was a sudden change in his demeanour. “So, you are the one who made that fraudulent film”, he thundered. “Umm… Err… So?” “That accursed film”, he sneered,” So bloody bombastic! What tall claims! I was so impressed; ordered large consignment for my upcoming housing estate project. And the s****y stuff started to corrode after 4 months only! It’s a scandal! You are a first-rate con!!!”
I was flabbergasted. I also realised it was futile to explain my role and responsibility as the filmmaker commissioned to make the video on the said TMT bar. Needless to say the rest of the journey was spent in a frosty, uncomfortable silence.