Singapore’s dancing to Tamma Tamma! #BKDInSingapore


Every  year, there are many marquee Hindi and other regional movies shot in exotic destinations and countries across the world, and after all its efforts, hospitality, facilitation for the shoot et al, the host country just waits for the commercial release of the film in India and hope it funnels tourist footfalls there. Well,  Badrinath Ki Dulhaniya, directed by Shashank Khaitan and produced by Karan Johar, starring Varun Dhawan, Aliya Bhatt  and Gauhar Khan, too has many important scenes and the songs shot in Singapore. Everyone knows that. But what the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) has done very smartly is, it has  gone ahead and decided not to just wait for the release of the film. Even before the event, STB has taken T-Series’ Bhushan Kumar’s brilliant idea to the next level for the promotion of Singapore as a great tourist destination.

I’ll get to  what Singapore Tourism has done, but first, Bhushan Kumar’s idea. We know the kind of inane ‘hit’  music that’s been spewed by the sampler-keyboards in the name of film music compositions in Hindi movies today.  So, realizing that he already had a lovely, catchy dance anthem in his massive music library, we know Bhushan Kumar decided to use Tamma Tamma in BKD. And he didn’t want to just have it re-recorded by some non-singers (as in the Dheere Dheere Se or Laila Main Lala remakes). He actually got popular ‘Gaan’ master Bappi Da Lahiri and Anuradha Paudwal to record the song once again, and used it as the item anthem in BKD. Thanks to T-Series brilliant marketing machinery headed by my friend Vinod Bhanushali, the song has received amazing air play on FM radio.

Great idea

So, Singapore Tourism went head and capitalized on the available warm-and-toasted general sentiment for the revamped Tamma Tamma track, in conjunction with the anticipation for the Aalia-Varun starrer film. STB swooped down upon the opportunity and promptly commissioned a video production agency to go ahead. The result:  a lovely, exquisitely choreographed, catchy, well edited but simply styled video shot across the memorable streets and locations of Singapore, which has a cross section of cool looking Singaporeans dancing to the BKD Tamma Tamma track.

Beat that for smart promotion.

The memorable track,  the  lovely locations,  smiling, exuberant people – often chic, stylish, even sexy – dancing and enjoying themselves… it’s a great fusion of entertainment and promotions, and promotion of the best kind – subtle, not of the push-in-your-face variety but the inviting sort that  ensures it passes muster with and soars past the innate  ‘plugs-blocker’ configured into the consciousness of every digital denizen today.

Here’s the video:

Pretty good, isn’t it? I wish they’d also tagged on, towards the end, a bit of footage featuring Varun and Aalia – just a few seconds to round off the video for a little bit of star value? Though the visuals of Singapore and the people there letting their hair down has definitely nailed it. What’s your view?

Hindi movies are a great conduit of tourist footfalls for any exotic country they’re shot in. And if the banner is respected, and the sort that will guarantee a good star cast and great production values and some sensible creative, then, like massive flocks of migratory birds,  Indian tourists can make a quick dash and swerve towards a new foreign destination they’ve seen in a movie they’ve loved.

Perfect timing

The film releases on the 10th of March, and even though it’s the middle of the exam season for the young Generation Z and younger millennial audiences, the timing is just right. These youngsters are the  ones with the maximum persuasive power on holiday destination decisions, and will also definitely want to  catch up on the film. After all, it stars young youth favourites Varun and Aliya, and there isn’t a single good promotional trick Karan Johar has either not created, or ever forgotton to use. The clincher is that it’s  T Series that owns and is promoting the  music, which has already received  massive radio airplay for the songs, especially Tamma Tamma. So  the footfalls on opening day and week are guaranteed; exams or no exams. “It’s just three hours, Mom!”, I can already hear my daughter pleading.

So STB,  together with SilkAir, the regional wing of Singapore Airlines, have done really well to have closely collaborated with  Dharma Productions for BKD.

Word is, the stars, Varun, Aliya and Gauhar and the rest shot for the film  in Singapore even during the Diwali holidays, but it wasn’t a drain or a chore because the lovely city offers a great mix of  dining, retail, entertainment and more. Really, shooting in an exotic city like Singapore is like being paid to do something you would love, but then that’s part of star perks.

With the star cast, storyline, the dichotomy of a bhaiyya-bhasha speaking hero in super cosmopolitan Singapore – and the endearing Varun Dhawan, at that — and everybody’s little darling Aliya plus the svelte Gauhar Khan, come the ensuring holiday season and Badrinath Ki Dulhaniya should have Indian tourists Tamma Tamma-ing their way to Singapore.

Why Singapore? Because, says director Shashank Khaitan, “It’s not just a destination but was  intricately woven into the essence of the plot. You see, Singapore offers an interesting mix of a unique multicultural society interwoven into a dynamic city that pulsates with modern vibrancy.” So  they needed to be in a city  exactly like Singapore, because they needed a city that “works well with the characters of Badri and Vaidehi as they embark on a journey of self-discovery.”

Talking about Singapore’s association with the movie, G.B Srithar, Regional Director for South Asia, Middle East & Africa, Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said, “We are happy to be associated with Badrinath Ki Dulhania, a movie that will appeal to all segments of Indian society with its over-arching theme of love and the joy of life. Over the past few decades, Bollywood movies have helped build an emotive connect among the Indian audiences with Singapore. We believe through Badri and Vaidehi, they will re-discover Singapore’s variety of experiences and evolving cityscape. Keeping in line with the movie’s theme, we are pleased to welcome Indian travelers to begin their endless love affair with Singapore, by visiting and re-visiting Singapore for memorable holidays.”

Alia’s character in the movie goes through a transformation in Singapore, where the story of her involvement with SilkAir, the regional wing of Singapore Airlines, unfolds. SilkAir, by the way,  is also the official airline partner for the movie. Its GM for India, Jagdish Bhojwani, said, “SilkAir is happy and excited to be associated with the Bollywood project. India is a key market for us and we continue to view it as one with great importance. We strongly believe that the association will help us reach out to more people as we embark on efforts to spread our wings across India.”

Clever integration, that. At present, SilkAir and Singapore Airlines have combined operations from 11 Indian cities, namely Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Coimbatore, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Thiruvananthapuram and Visakhapatnam,  connecting to over 100 destinations via its hub, Singapore

Some Hindi films memorable for being shot outside India

That king of Romance, the late, great Yash ji (Yash Chopra) was the visionary who knew how best to meld romance and drama with aesthetics for great business, and he really pushed the envelope when he began taking his best stories to exotic destinations across the world. Some of the most memorable movies shot across other countries include Chandni, shot in exquisite Switzerland, Dilwale Dilwale Dulhania Le Jaayenge in Switzerland and London, Jab Tak Hai Jaan (Yash ji’s last) across England, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara was an amazing, alluring show window for Spain, showcasing the bull running in Pamplona along with other really quaint, alluring, small town Spain that got swarms of Indian tourists going there after they watched the film. Mahesh Bhatt’s choice of Seoul, South Korea was remarkable. It  gave Gangster a never-before look and brought the country onto the radar of travel-hungry Indian tourists.

Imtiaz Ali shot Rockstar in beautiful Prague, Czechoslovakia, and Karan Johar’s Kal Ho Naa Ho showcased the beauty and personality of New York and its various iconic locations. Karan Johar shot Dostana in the US, and really and truly showcased the beautiful city of Miami, while the thriller New York, of course, was shot primarily in the Big Apple, and also Philadelphia. Ek Main Aur Ek Tu which was shot in South Africa’s most popular tourist destination, Sin City, along with Las Vegas, and Bachna Ae Haseeno was really like an extensive tour of shooting, going across two continents and extensively across Europe — shot in Italy, Switzerland, Greece and Australia. PK pushed the envelope with a never-before location of a small town in Belgium for the song with Anushka and Aamir.

My take

With the star cast, storyline, the dichotomy of a bhaiyya-bhasha speaking hero in super cosmopolitan Singapore – and the endearing Varun Dhawan, at that — and everybody’s little darling Aliya plus the svelte Gauhar Khan, come the ensuring holiday season and Badrinath Ki Dulhaniya should have Indian tourists Tamma Tamma-ing their way to Singapore.

What’s your view?

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