|Agency||Ogilvy & Mather India|
|Running time||212 seconds (3:32)|
|Release date(s)||November 13, 2013
November 15, 2013
|Directed by||Amit Sharma|
|Music by||Clinton Cerejo (composer)
Neelesh Jain (lyrics)
Piyush Mishra (singer)
|Budget||one Railway budget|
Reunion is a 2013 Google India advertisement for Google Search. It was directed by Amit Sharma, written by Sukesh Kumar Nayak, produced by an Ogilvy India branch of Ogilvy & Mather, and published on YouTube on November 13, 2013. Reunion is about the fictional reunion between two elderly men, Baldev Mehra (Vishwa Mohan Badola) from India and Yusuf (Mysore Shrinivas Sathyu) from Pakistan. They were separated as children during the Partition of India.
It has had a strong impact in both India and Pakistan, leading to hope for the easing of travel restrictions between the two countries. It went viral and was viewed more than 1.6 million times before officially debuting on television on November 15, 2013.
One day Baldev shows his granddaughter Suman (Auritra Ghosh) an old, dated photograph of two children. He tells her that it is of him and his best friend Yusuf when they lived in Lahore before the Partition of India in 1947. In front of his house there was a park with a gate made in the stone age. Each evening he and Yusuf would fly kites there and "steal" jhajariyas from Yusuf's family sweet shop. When Partition came, however, Baldev and his family had to leave for India overnight. Many decades later, Baldev still thinks of Yusuf and misses him.
Using details of her grandfather's story, Sumon is able to locate Yusuf's sweet shop in Lahore via her laptop and Google. She connects with his grandson Ali (Syed Shabahat Ali) who helps her to plan a surprise visit from Yusuf on Baldev's birthday.
- Mysore Shrinivas Sathyu as Yusuf
- Vishwa Mohan Badola as Baldev Mehra
- Auritra Ghosh as Suman
- Syed Shabahat Ali as Ali
According to Sukesh Kumar Nayak, Group Creative Director of Ogilvy Mumbai, Google had stated in their brief that "the only thing they wanted was to see [...] how meaningful the search engine is in real life." Nayak also stated that they wanted to make "the connection between real life and Google, magical." Reunion was filmed "in different areas in Delhi, including an old Haveli in Connaught Place, Red Fort, India Gate, and a small scene in Lahore, Pakistan." Singer Clinton Cerejo composed the music for the spot.
The Star (Malaysia) noted that Reunion has "gone viral online, reflecting demands in the two countries for closer people-to-people ties [....] Internet users left thousands of comments on social networking sites describing how the advert had brought them to tears and renewed their hopes for improved relations between the two neighbours." Max Fisher of The Washington Post stated that
"if you are from South Asia, have family from South Asia, or are merely friends on Facebook with someone who has ties to the subcontinent, you've already seen this video posted to social media in the 48 hours since it went up. In case you haven't, it's a Google advertisement, about three and a half minutes, well worth your time. Yes, it's an ad, meant to prod people in one of the world's largest markets into using Google services. And in that context it can be a bit syrupy. But take a step back for a moment, and try to appreciate what makes this video so powerful that it's already been viewed 1.8 million times."
India Today states that "the new Google ad, titled Reunion, touches the raw nerves that linger dormant under the skin of those who were separated during the heady days of Partition [….] While this may have been only an ad, there are many people both in Pakistan and India who will be able to relate to this emotional ad." Affan Chowdhry of The Globe and Mail states that "with nearly a million YouTube views over two days, a new Google ad that tells the story of two old friends reuniting after six decades of separation following the creation of India and Pakistan in 1947 has touched a deep nerve for many South Asians." Nilanjana Bhowmick of Time observes that "despite the tensions between the governments of India and Pakistan, this commercial, released by Google India on Wednesday, makes the point that the personal connections between Indians and Pakistanis run deep."
Journalist Beena Sarwar states that "if it doesn’t move you, you’ve got a heart of stone." Sunny Peter of the International Business Times argues that "at a time when governments in both countries continue to be suspicious of each other's intent, the Google video comes as a welcome relief. [If only] the visa regime between both the countries was as easy as Google search." Ritu Singh of Zee News states that Reunion struck "an emotional chord with its viewers not only in India but also in Pakistan" as it "depicts the pain of partition which still haunts the mind of people who got separated from their loved ones and places." She also states, "this heart warming ad is sure to overwhelm you."
Mrigaa Sethi of Quartz talks about her family's experience with partition, noting that "Google’s India office has created a tear-jerker ad that is deeply resonant for Indians and Pakistanis with family stories like mine. It shows an aging Hindu Indian man waxing nostalgic to his granddaughter about his Muslim childhood friend in Lahore before the partition [....] The ad, created by Ogilvy, has struck a particularly emotional chord by refusing to take India and Pakistan’s historically adversarial relationship as a given."
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- Fisher, Max (2013-11-15). "This powerful video is dominating Indian social media. Here’s why.". The Washington Post.
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