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64th EPISODE. I am not sure which year it was, but if my memory serves me right it must have been 2007 or 2008. DANDIYA PARTY by Divya Bhaskar were world famous in Mumbai and Delhi advertising circles. This was one night or uninterrupted music and dance. Timed just before the real Navratas, it was a great icebreaker, relationship creator and cementer in B2B terms. The invitees would be mostly media agencies and client team.
Till the year that I am referring here, Dandiya Parties by Divya Bhaskar were a held in real traditional setup. I in my stupid wisdom that year tried to innovate. Keeping the Dandiya theme the whole getup changed. It started with creating a big dance floor. The floor instead of flowers and bandani style favoured till last year gave way to high hung lights and strobes on the trusses. The set up was full discotheque style. The DJ console was at an elevation on one side of the dance floor. The Bar was on both sides of the dancing arena and I was ready to contemporise Dandiya Party.
The invite said 730 PM and we expected the crowd to build up by 830 PM or so. The crowd did come and the hall was full. There were groups of people all over the large hall at the ITC GRAND MARATHA in Mumbai. But there was no one on the floor. The excitement was apparent and the music being played just right but no one moved and there was no one even considering getting on the floor. Maybe this new setup has taken people by surprise. It seemed they were not ready for it. But as the leader it was my responsibility to ensure that the show was a success. The comment ‘It does not seem as a Bhaskar party but like a TV Channel party’ that seemed so encouraging sometime back was now haunting me.
I waited and I waited. Nothing happened. Then someone advised, maybe we could get few of our own team members on stage and then other will join. Sounds great. When I looked around, I found no one was willing to be the first dancer on the floor.
This was not done. Not happening. This was my party. How the ownership kicks in with failure staring you on face. Without much thinking and unaware of the consequences I moved to the elevated DJ console and requested people to move to the floor. Nothing happened. Then I heard myself saying ‘Guys, get on, lets party and if I do not see anyone on the floor by the time I get down, I am going to the first one to be on the floor and trust you will have to tolerate me as I do not know how to dance’. Nothing happened. I stepped down and reached the floor and nothing happened.
Now all eyes were on me and more so my team members were looking at me. I had no other option but to get on the floor. I did that and then I started dancing the only way I know- the north Indian shaddi style- where the beats do not matter- the music does not matter and what matters is your peace with self. I just danced with my two left feet. Fortunately for me Pallavi (Name changed) of Bhaskar decided to support me. She slowly swinging in with the music moved on to the floor. In that lovely blue tinted sari she matched my steps. If those could be classified as dancing moves. For the next 20 odd minutes it was she and I on the dance floor. Dancing together will be misrepresenting facts. Initially we were dancing wild. Dancing close. Dancing like the same poles of a magnet. Unsynchronised. And with god grace and her attempts later on it did seem as if we were dancing together. Dancing as if it was the last opportunity. She was superb.
Slowly the crowd moved in. the party picked in. As soon as there were 20 people I slowly edged out. I picked a drink on the way and came out towards the pre-function area. Pallavi followed me and I thanked her profusely.
Now there was a question that I wanted to ask. Pallavi and I were colleagues but we have never been friends. I would have hardly
spoken with her. We were from different department and wing and yet she was the one who saved the day. So, naturally I asked her ‘what made you join me on the floor’?
She was holding my hand. She just smiled. I got up and hugged her. That was for being indebted to her and appreciating her courage. She pulled me by hand and said ‘You will never understand’. We moved in. The party that has started with our dance was in full swing.
As a marketer this move to change the traditional Dandiya Party to a contemporary style was a fiasco and maybe the reason that led to Dandiya parties not happening from the next year. Maybe when you have such a good property going there is no need to fix it.
……….. OTHER ADVERTISING MARKETING EPISODES …
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