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Campaign Brief (AUS/NZ) Online.
Campaign Brief Magazine : November December 2008
Sony ‘Domino City’ via Bates 141, Singapore, which was shot by Nic Finlayson in India Constructing the true colourof India I’ll keep this in point form (with big pictures) in case creatives read it. When you are at the travel doctor, Film Construction’s Nic Finlayson [above] directed the spectacular Sony ‘Domino City’ commercial for Bates 141, Singapore, which he shot in India. Here he recalls a land of contrasts, of rich and poor and a burgeoning middle class bigger than the entire population of the USA. lie about the amount of injections you have had. Neville Ste venson, the production designer on the job, decid es to get a few ext ra s hots. His arm hurts. I’d prefer the risk of Tet anus . I convi nce m yse lf I ’ll avoid i t by wearing ‘eve rything- proof’ boots. My feet swim in sweat for two weeks. My wife says I have to sort my feet out b efore I c an come back into th e h ouse. Cruel. All I wanted was a hug. 50,000 pe ople a y ear die from Rabies, 2 5,000 o f th em in India. We investigate the shots. They will delay the effects, but you stil l have to get to a serious hospital with seri- ous doctors and serious medicine, within 24hrs of getting bitten. I ask what happens if you don’ t g et the shots. The prognosis is not good. We did blood tests to o, jus t i n case. Ne ville sprung a leak. T here was blood everywhere. So he got a sore arm, blood all over his clothes, and a $256 bill from the d octor, before we even left the country. In the beginning, Film Construct- ion was conce rned ab out t ravel insurance owing to the ‘h ot-spots’ around the border t erritories with Pakistan. Any suicide bombs an d we lose our insurance comp letely. First big discovery is a place called Ajner Shari f, the secon d most important shrine in the world for the Muslim faith. It is 15kms from Pushkar, where we’re shoo ting. I figure we’ll be safe from an Atomic Attack from Pakistan there. We might have been safe from an Atomic Bomb in Push kar, bu t the N OVE MB ER/DEC EMB ER 2 008 biggest threat in I ndia i s act ual ly underfoot. I have to take my ‘every- thing-proof’ boots of f to scout the magical lake. No shoes allowed. No shoes? You’ve got to be fucking kid- ding. Cow shit, human s hit, rub - bish, skin, rabid dogs and monkeys, bats, spew, spit (human and camel), tetanus, HIV and Hepatitis A-Z. This Indian underfoot detritus is beyond words, smells, and textures. It’s first class sensory overload. I’d love to see someone with cle anli- ness OCD here. I laugh out loud at the thought, but its not that funny. Nah, it’s pretty funny. I kept my s oc ks on, bu t that turned out worse. Stuff see ped up my leg. I should have bee n brave and gone baref oot, but I’m no t br ave , and I not iced the local (Mumbai), crew were al so we aring socks. I’m with them. In India, the heaving gap between the rich and the poor sl aps me i n the f ace as I stumble between a ir- conditioned e verything. (Note to self, ask the location guys in NZ for fully air-conditioned monitor t ents on next shoot). 3 days in and I am casual with pilgrims, car a ccidents, cows , camels, beggars, a nd busi - nessmen. Businessmen everywhere. Still, India has its own burgeoning middle-class. I love th e id ea that the Indian middle class has a popu- lation bigger than the entire popula- tion of the USA. The guy push-bik- ing me up this crowded al ley i s a s poor as you get, but he h as a TV with 200 channels. He’ll sit at night and watch. He’ll sit with his whole family. The y’ ll a ll wat ch. T V is alive and kicking ass he re. And the Indian film business? I t’s b igger than Hollywood by a country mile. We travelled on the maddest road in the world, from Dehli to Agra. Over laden tr uck s wi th s leep- dep riv ed drive rs swing out into oncoming traffi c, a nd stay there. Cows stop mid lane and we swerve around them. Pilgrims take over the highway. Bikes thread the gaps. I view it all from the disassociated safety of our bus. Then it happens, time slows and the loneliest image I have ever seen wash- es over me. Two human bodies lay alone on the side of the road, uncared for. I cannot speak. I fall into deep sadne ss. I n NZ t here would be ambulances and crowds. In India, the bodies lie where they fall. I went to the local doctor because I was not sleeping. He asked me if I was depressed, I said I was very happy, just tired. He asked if I w as travelling with friends, I said I had a couple with me and we were work- ing. He asked if I was sharing my bed with them. I stressed they were mat es an d pr obabl y wou ldn’t appreci ate the con not ati on. He spo tted my wed ding r ing. He clicked his fingers. He said I was not sleeping because there was no one sharing my bed. I started to wonder what his pr escription was going to be. All I wanted were some sleeping pills. The job itself? It’s a long story for another time. At times the chaos breaks surface and reveals India’s challenges and inertia and degrees of dystopia. But India is about people, and they are wonderful . Thankyou India. You abs olu tel y r ock . And than ks Krishna for the air-con. CAMP AIGN B RIE F 51
Awards Dec 2008
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