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Shahrukh Khan. VOA

Kolkata, Feb 6, 2017: Bollywood’s superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s signature style mixes with Nobel laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore’s eternal symphony in inviting tourists from faraway lands to Bengalin the latest advertisement to promote tourism, that cuts through stereotypes.

The three-and-half minutes long video montage takes viewers on a joy-ride from the chandeliered Rajbaris of Bengal, ceiling-high stacks of books in the narrow alleys of College street, immersive terracotta temples of Bankura, psychedelic masked Chhau dancers, Sundarbans mangrove’s fishermen with backward facing masks to the rolling tea gardens of Darjeeling hills — all through the experiences of a foreigner.


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The video, which has been receiving “an overwhelming response” from viewers on social media from all over the world, sees Shah Rukh, Bengal’s brand ambassador, crooning to Tagore’s “Ami Chini Go Chini Tomare, O Go Bideshini” (“I know you, oh lady from faraway land”) while serenading the foreigner in a tram car in typical Shah Rukh way.

“We have received extremely positive response from the ad and it is being shared all across on social media as part of our aggressive tourism campaign,” Bengal Tourism Minister Gautam Deb told the media.

According to Deb, “The essence of our tagline ‘Welcome to Bengal – The sweetest part of India’ is the state’s hospitality which caters to guests from India and abroad. We want foreigners to think of Bengal first when they see the ad and plan to visit India.”

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An Ogilvy & Mather, Kolkata, concept, the film has been directed by Prakash Varma of Nirvana films.

Instead of opting for typical and very age-old Bengal tourism props such as rosogollas (spongy sweetmeats) or hand-pulled rickshaws, the montage offers glimpses of relatively lesser known prospects such as the state’s relationship with graffiti art and its love for mustard-infused bhetki paturi (fillet of bhetki in banana leaf envelopes).

A touch of tradition is played out at the same time as the foreigner lady indulges in Sindoor Khela (women smear vermilion at each other at the conclusion of Durga puja), listens to Bengal’s very-own folk baul music and drives through the expansive Howrah Bridge across the Hooghly river.

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Reflecting the continuity of cultures, the viewer rides along with the fair lady, who has come to attend a wedding, in buses, a yellow cab, the toy train and the tram. Her journey in Bengal is matched to score with a Bong background laced in baul tunes and sounds of the Shehnai, with the lilting tunes of Tagore accentuating the ebb and flow of a sojourn. (IANS)

– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang


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