Kolkata: If it was the train which brought Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol together in the iconic film "Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge", it will be Kolkata's heritage tram which will bring a foreigner lady closer to the city in a new West Bengal tourism campaign.
Shah Rukh Khan
SRK, the state brand ambassador, came to the city last week and secretly shot a new television advertisement riding on a tram in the lush green Maidan area. The 45-second TVC, which will be broadcast from March, will have Khan introducing a foreign lady tourist to the city inside the tram.
"The idea is to project Bengal as the sweetest part of India. Whether it is in the culture, food, nature of people, language, music or in gestures, everything is very sweet. This is what makes it unique," Sumanto Chattopadhyay, the adman who is shooting the promotional, told PTI here today.
A quintessential part of the colonial-era, Kolkata is the only place in India which still manages to accommodate the slow-moving tram. West Bengal tourism department had recently rebranded itself from 'Beautiful Bengal' to 'Experience Bengal' Sweetest Part of India'.
Department officials said they have asked the ad agency Ogilvy & Mather to prepare 8-10 such commercials in which different parts of the state will be shown.
"There will be 8-10 clips of 45 seconds each. We will showcase the heritage of Kolkata and Bishnupur, major tourist attractions like the hills of Darjeeling, islands of Sundarbans, tea gardens and forests of Dooars, tribal and natural beauty of the Junglemahal area and cruising in the river Ganges," said A R Bardhan, principal secretary, West Bengal tourism department.
Officials refused to divulge when and where would Khan go for further shootings. The superstar, who also co-owns IPL franchise Kolkata Knight Riders, is not charging any fee from the government for the promotionals.
Bardhan said their total budget for the new campaign is Rs 20 crore out of which Rs 4.5 crore will go only on the making of the advertisements and the rest will go in buying TV ad spots. The campaign will be rolled out nationally. Ogilvy & Mather was the agency which executed the Gujarat tourism campaign featuring Amitabh Bachchan. They had also created the slogan "Incredible India" for the country's Ministry of Tourism in 2002. The shooting will go on for another week in different parts of the state.
"We want tourists from India and the rest of the world. Our unique selling point is that you get the Sundarban low-lying forests and the Himalayas in Darjeeling in one state," the tourism department official said.
According to the Union Ministry of Tourism data, West Bengal stood at the sixth position, a rank above Kerala, in getting the most foreign tourists during 2014.