Theweekendleader

‘Flash mobs’ strike at Indian metros

Radhika Bhirani

02-January-2012

Vol 2 | Issue 52

If you're busy shopping at a packed marketplace and someone next to
you breaks into a jig, don't fret, just join in! Chances are it may be
a flash mob.

It is the latest publicity gimmick that many event management
companies, social activists, TV channels and movie production houses
are using to create a buzz among masses.

Flash mobs have been a tried-and-tested technique abroad, but in India
it is a new concept. It first started at Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji
Terminus when close to 200 people began dancing to Bollywood
chartbuster "Rang de Basanti" last month.

The trend has caught on, and is spreading to all Indian cities (Photo: IANS)

Since then the trend has caught on and travelled to various cities
like Pune, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Kochi as well as the
national capital.

"Flash mobs in my opinion are a great new way to reach out to the
masses, although they shouldn't be conducted so often that they end up
killing the element of surprise," says Ayush Gupta of Cabbageheads, an
event management firm which organised the flash mobs at the capital's
Janpath and Priya complex.

Even though police played spoilsport during their flash mob, there was
a purpose behind the activity, says the 20-year-old.

"We organised the flash mob with the sole purpose of opening minds
around. We wanted to set a trend - a trend which screams of being bold
enough to try new things! People need to loosen up a bit. Go crazy
every once in a while. That's what we had in mind when we organised
Flash Mob Delhi," added Gupta.

The team of Zee TV's flagship reality show "Dance India Dance" had
also organised "Dancemobs" to promote the third season of the show. A
flash mob of over 50 people began dancing at the Rajouri Garden market
in West Delhi. From college-goers, shopkeepers and residents, lots of
people joined in the flash mob and danced to popular Bollywood
chartbusters.

"As per our research, 'Dance India Dance' connects with audiences
across ages and is driven by the youth target audience. Also, it's
that time of the year when a lot of people are out shopping or
partying. Hence it becomes easier for us to reach out to more number
of people at one go," says Akash Chawla, Zee Marketing Head-National
Channels.

"The highest recall value of a thing is when it happens by surprise.
Besides this, tapping the new media in a big way, the Dancemob videos
will be uploaded on various social networking sites as well, which
will help us to further increase our audience base," added Chawla.

According to the dictionary, a flash mob is "a large group of people
mobilised by social media to meet in a public place for the purpose of
doing an unusual or entertaining activity of short duration."

People of varied age groups are using online social networking
platforms like Facebook and Twitter to organise such surprise dance
activities.

At the capital's Sarojini Nagar, a group planned a flash mob against
sexual harassment and female foeticide, and danced to "Sadda haq".

In Mumbai, southern star Dhanush led a flash mob and danced to his
Tamil-English hit "Kolaveri di" to promote the film "3", while in
Kochi some enthusiasts danced to spread the message of peace.

The flash mobs are getting a lot of hits on YouTube.

Gupta feels "flash mobs will eventually fizzle out if they continue to
happen at the rate they currently are."

"People should think new rather than follow the mob mentality. That's
what'll make a difference," he added. -IANS


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