From 1992 to 2016, Pakistan got a total of 10 ‘Maukas’ (opportunities) to beat India; six in the ICC Cricket World Cup, and four in the ICC World T20. But, none of the ‘maukas’ worked out for the Pak team. Will it get a chance to burst those crackers this time? The idea, put forward by Star Sport’s Mustafa Rangwala, was as simple, and good as it could get.
Bringing Rangwala’s brainchild to life, Bubblewrap Films executed the first ‘Mauka Mauka’ ad that became incredibly popular during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. However, the opportunity to execute the 2016 ICC World T20 India vs Pakistan campaign, went to another Mumbai-based production house Like-Minded People.
In the new ad, the Pakistani fan played by actor Vishal Malhotra, sends a recorded video message to Pakistan’s ICC T20 team’s skipper Shahid Afridi. He implores Afridi to win the upcoming T20 match against India and save his son’s hopes from being crushed. Letting out some pent-up frustration, he says, “Bata do inko ki chhakka marte kaise hain (tell them how to hit a six).”
Released on March 15 by Star Sports, the official broadcaster of the tournament, the ad has already got over eight lakh views on YouTube. But, how was it like to better what was, perhaps, one of the best ads of 2015? Says Piyush Raghani, director, Like-Minded People, “A client once said, ‘Sholay ek hi baar banti hai’. So, if you can’t remake it, ensure that it’s not forgotten or diluted. I have tried to take the campaign a step forward.”
Continuing on the brief, he adds, “Pakistan has lost to us 10 times and this guy (the Pakistani fan played by actor Vishal Malhotra) has been waiting since 1992 to burst crackers. Now, that’s a generational leap for them. So, we have taken an emotional route where the protagonist appeals to Afridi to win the match, this time, for his son.”
Unlike the previous campaign which had a series of Mauka Mauka spots for the entire tournament, this one’s a standalone piece. Bubblewrap films had, in anearlier interaction with afaqs!, shared how the team braved a tight deadline and worked on a gruelling schedule to come up with the ads. The experience was somewhat similar for Raghani. “We were given a very tight turnaround, in the sense that we shot on Friday (March 11) and the ad was on air on March 15. But, the shoot was fun. Malhotra is a fantastic actor, so we didn’t have to worry too much about anything,” he recounts.
While the sequel is picking up steadily, it has a tough precedent to beat. Recall that the popularity of the original ad was such that it elicited a couple of interesting response videos/spoofs by YouTube channels TVF and Shudh Desi Endings. Later, the concept spilled over to the ‘Pro-Kabbadi League’.
The memorable track ‘Mauka Mauka’ was composed by freelance music directors Vinayak Salvi and Rohan Utpat at the behest of Suresh Triveni (director, Bubblewrap Films) who believed that if a spot had to play for 10 days before the match, it might as well be hammered away on TV with a suitable tune. Vikas Dubey, from Star, wrote the lyrics, while Salvi and Utpat searched for the perfect singer, someone who could pull off an ‘alaap’ and a Sufi tune with equal ease. And, for this, Alamgir Khan from Chandigarh was chosen to lend his voice.
Raghani informs that there is no contingency plan in place. Last year, Bubblewrap had a spot ready for the ‘what if we lose’ scenario. So, as India and Pakistan fight it out on the pitch tomorrow, March 19, we hope the optimism that Star Sports has shown pays off.
A ‘mauka’ well-used?
Spandan Mishra, head, strategic planning, Rediffusion Y&R, calls it a “strictly okay” ad. Since the character is a memorable one for Indians and the original gag was hilarious, the nostalgia does make him smile, but he thinks that the spot lacks creativity and a strong idea. “There’s nothing new in the film, unless you count recording a video and sending it across. The writing was also quite unfunny. A sequel needs a new seed to spark off from. This one lacked it,” rues Mishra.
Comparing it with the previous ‘Mauka Mauka’ films, he says, “Even after the India-Pakistan match (which we won), the Pakistani guy partnered with fans of other teams that could beat India. That was funny again. But this time, it felt tired and uninspired, and lacked the ending punch as well.”