Govt agencies' Deepavali-themed clips combine humour with public messages

In a screengrab of one of the videos, a king is seen ordering his staff to get his "magical Chas bow and arrows", referring to the Community Health Assist Scheme. PHOTO: GOV.SG/FACEBOOK
In a screengrab of one of the videos, a king is seen ordering his staff to get his "magical Chas bow and arrows", referring to the Community Health Assist Scheme. PHOTO: GOV.SG/FACEBOOK

What do Grandma Version 2.0, the hit 2015 Indian movie Baahubali and a community centre have in common? Deepavali, of course.

They feature in three videos by government agencies celebrating the Festival of Lights that have been making the rounds online after they were posted last week.

Two of the clips pay homage to popular Indian films while highlighting government schemes in a light-hearted way.

One of them was posted on the Gov.sg Facebook page last Wednesday, and depicts a king in a palace becoming agitated as he considers how to retaliate against another monarch who "poked" him on Facebook. His wife suggests offering cake but he replies, referring to an Indian fried snack: "But our royal kitchen only has the Grandma who makes vadai."

The Grandma overhears this and upgrades her skills through Workforce Singapore's Adapt and Grow programme, and saves the day with an array of treats.

The video was inspired by the 2006 Tamil historical-comedy film Imsai Arasan, which was well received by local Indian audiences, said the Ministry of Communications and Information yesterday.

The Deepavali clip and another related video were filmed over two days last month under a regular festive series by Gov.sg to commemorate local ethnic celebrations.

The second video shows the king ordering his staff to call the palace doctor after a guest at his royal Deepavali feast falls ill. But the guest asks the king not to do so, as it will be "very expensive".

The king orders his staff to get his "magical Chas bow and arrows", referring to the Community Health Assist Scheme, before the video explains the scheme.

 
 
 

The king references the popular Baahubali film at one point: "If we use motion capture technology to show me fighting like Baahubali, will our people believe it?"

Both videos were directed by Mr S.S. Vikneshwaran from local production house Cosmic Ultima Pictures and feature local actors.

"The idea was to create videos with entertaining yet meaningful messages, which would resonate with viewers," said the ministry.

The People's Association also posted a Deepavali video last Saturday. It was inspired by grassroots volunteers who help to organise Deepavali celebrations to share about Indian culture and traditions with residents of different races and religions, said the association.

The clip shows Indian residents preparing for Deepavali festivities, before spending an evening celebrating with one another, as well as residents of other races, at a community centre.

The team took about four weeks to research and create the storyline together with volunteers, and filmed the video in a day.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 25, 2019, with the headline 'Govt agencies' Deepavali-themed clips combine humour with public messages'. Print Edition | Subscribe