How many of us have looked on in awe when the Indian Air Force puts up a fabulous aerial show during Independence and Republic Day celebrations and how many of us have imagined a woman sitting in the cockpit directing these jets?
If we still feel a stab of excitement when a woman pilots our commercial planes then it is proof that the air space is predominantly the domain of the man. The aviator donning, blue-clad, crew-cut sporting man is the imagery that we associate with the Indian Air Force. But with their new communication, conceptualised by Grey Group, the force is trying to bring to the fore their efforts at championing equality in the skies.
The video is a montage of shots of jets flying and the air force camp juxtaposed against a monologue that talks about how women are never associated with the Indian Air Force. The video ends with the thought that âWoh ladki jo ghar banati hai, ab ghar bachayegi.â
Speaking about the idea, Sandipan Bhattacharyya, Chief Creative Officer, Grey group India, said, âYou must have noticed that over the last one-and-a-half years there has been a lot of chat about gender equality. A lot of brands have been trying to raise conversations about it. Now if you think about it, at the core of it, Indian Air Force is a brand that can actually make a tangible difference to that argument. Letâs say that today I am an ice-cream brand and I talk about gender equality, I might make a great point but does my product really push the debate further, can I walk the talk? The Indian Air Force, incidentally, is a brand that can walk the talk because the air force is perceived as a boyâs club. If you go to Google and type fighter pilots the imagery that comes to mind will probably be of Top Gun, Tom Cruise, those overalls, those stud-boy fighter pilots, this is what we remember, this is the imagery.â
âIt is such a deeply embedded image in our minds from the time when we were kids. So when the Indian Air Force decides to change this deep-rooted perception and this notion about woman not being able to don a fighter pilotâs uniform I think is a giant step. It is not about just another brand coming and saying women are equal. Here is one of our defence forces coming up and saying that when it comes to the service of the nation there should be no distinction on gender because we feel there is absolute equality and we will champion it by hiring and commissioning fighter pilots who are women,â he added.
But was there any fear that the communication might get lost in the milieu of ads that are being made today that that take up the cause of women empowerment?
âSure. Absolutely. But there are brands that can talk about equality and then there are brands that can put a definitive stamp on it. There are very few brands that can actually walk the talk. I mean these are not actors, the people you see in the other ads are actors but these are actual pilots. These are real women who are challenging the notion and busting the stereotype. So, to me it is very different from what any other brand has done. The idea is not to compete with the chatter for us the advertising is a very small subset of the world we want this communication to go out to,â said Bhattacharyya.
Were there any challenges that they had to face while executing the idea?
âThis took a long time. There are lots of people involved in the making of this film. If you look at all the aerial footage it is really challenging to get all that. Parts of the film have been shot in extremely remote locations like Leh. So our teams from Grey and Asylum Films had to brave all the crazy weather to get the right footage. Greyâs own film department called Grey Works went and spent time at the camps with the women fighter pilots in Hyderabad, they captured their movements and emotions. It has been a crazy passion project for the last six to eight months. It has been a labour of love.â
Client: Indian Air Force
Agency: Grey Group
Creative Team: Sandipan Bhattacharyya, Varun Goswami, Sahil Mehta, Zishan Mohammed, Manoj Tapadia, Harshvardhan Sharma, Gurdev Singh, Arjun Bhimwal, Rajesh Kumar, Bhavya Goel, Gautam Bhasin, Piyush Jain
Account Management:Â Ketan Desai,Â Pulak Bhattacharya,Â Vishal Pant
Grey Works (Films): Samir Chadha, Sharad Shinde, Yuvraj Bandi, Anjory Gor
Production House: Asylum Films
Director: Razneesh Ghai
Cinematographer: Mitesh Mirchandani
Executive Producer: Bhavna Singh
Director's Assistant: Aiman Ali
Associate Producer: Vidya Muraleedharan
Director: Samir Chadha
Producer: Mitalee Prabhu
Cinematographer: Dhimant Vvyas
Additional footage: IndianÂ AirÂ ForceÂ Archive