Mumbai Mirror “I Am Mumbai” by Taproot India

This was one of the stand-out film pieces at this years Cannes festival which I was lucky enough to attend (a full post will one day follow but I’ve been pretty busy the last few months). It beat 1,721 other entries to take home the coveted Gold Lion in Film Craft for Directing. The spot “I Am Mumbai” was created by Taproot India who commissioned RDP (Ramesh Deo Productions, Mumbai, India) to produce the film; Director Abhinay Deo was the one who took home the Gold Cannes Lion for his work but the whole ad is superb in almost every respect.

The film was shot on the streets of Mumbai itself with a cast of citizens who had never been in front of a camera before.To prepare, they were made to attend a two-day workshop to discuss problems the city was facing in order to bring out the angst and frustration in the footage. It worked brilliantly. The use of repetition and the grainy and frantic documentary-style shooting of the spot gives allow for the stories to sound more powerful and real. It is this heightened authenticity which gives this ad its brilliance. The anger in the voices of the unknown actors sounds raw and true – we feel the fire in their breath. Take a look at the spot below and, until I can find a decent HQ version of the footage with subtitles, a translation for some of the stories is written beneath the advert

Mother: “The milk which is delivered in our house is adulterated with gutter water. And the same milk I have to make my children drink. Why?! Tell me why should I make my children drink that milk? I am Mumbai!”

Child: “Our bed is smaller than this table. We get food only twice a week. The place where we eat…is the same place where we have to shit. I am Mumbai!!”

Young Upriser: “This city is my home. This is where I belong! You understand?! And I will not have your political posters dirty the walls of my home! You got it? Leave me! No political posters, can you hear me?! I am Mumbai! I am Mumbai!”

The client, Bennett, Coleman & Co, Ltd, who own the Mumbai Mirror, India’s largest circulated compact newspaper, seems to be positioning the paper as the real voice of Mumbai. The ad reveals the individual stories from around the city detailed from the various pages of its newspaper – the Mumbai Mirror’s voice is amplifying the untold stories the city does not hear, but should; the politically-motivated University ban of Rohinton Mistry’s book, the milk adulteration shambles, the horrifying hell of the Kavda orphanage and the fight against illegal political posters destroying the cityscape. It’s a wonderful piece of work and captures the zeitgeist perfectly.

Agency: Taproot India
Client: Bennett, Coleman & Co, Ltd.
Brand Team: Rahul Kansal, Priya Gupta
Creative Directors: Santosh Padhi, Agnello Dias
Writer: Agnello Dias
Account Management: Mandar Sawant

Production House: RDP (Ramesh Deo Productions, Mumbai, India)
Chief Creative officer: Agnello Dias
Producer: Apurba Sengupta
Director: Abhinay Deo
Director of Photography: Kartik Vijay
Editing: Huzefa Lokhandwala
Music: Ram Sampath
Executive Producer: Apurba Sengupta


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