Grandma Version 2.0, Baahubali, CC and reusables feature in Deepavali videos by government agencies

The three videos by government agencies celebrating the Festival of Lights have been making the rounds online after they were posted last week.
The three videos by government agencies celebrating the Festival of Lights have been making the rounds online after they were posted last week.PHOTOS: GOV.SG/FACEBOOK, PEOPLE'S ASSOCIATION/FACEBOOK

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

They feature in four videos by government agencies celebrating the Festival of Lights that have been making the rounds online after they were posted in the past two weeks.

One of the clips was shared by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Facebook on Monday (Oct 21) and by Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran on Thursday.

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

One of them, titled A Royal Conundrum, was posted on the Facebook page last Wednesday, and depicts a king in a palace becoming agitated as he is informed that another king has "poked" him on Facebook.

"So he wants our friendship eh? Let's poke him back," the king says, before his wife advises him to give the other king cake instead.

"But our royal kitchen only has the Grandma who makes vadai," the king replies, referring to the Indian fried snack.

Overhearing the conversation, the Grandma decides to upgrade her skills through Workforce Singapore's Adapt and Grow programme, and whips up an array of treats to save the day.

The video was inspired by the 2006 Tamil historical-comedy movie Imsai Arasan, which was well-received by local Indian audiences, said Ms Soffy Hariyanti, director of campaigns and production at the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI). It features comedic skits set in ancient royal courts, she said.

A Royal Conundrum is part of a series of two videos, both about one and a half minutes long each. The clips were filmed over two days last month under a regular festive series by to commemorate local ethnic celebrations.


PM Lee wrote on Facebook about the video: "It's a fun video with a serious message. We need to prepare for economic changes by learning new skills and adapting to new job demands."

The second part of the video series, titled What could go wrong at a Royal Deepavali celebration?, shows the king ordering his staff to call the palace doctor after a guest at his royal Deepavali feast falls ill. However, 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's characters explain the scheme.

Another reference to Indian movies is made, as the king cheekily mentions the popular film Baahubali at the start of the video: "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.

They feature local artists such as real-life husband-and-wife team Vasantham host-actor-singer Elamaran Natarajan and actress-host Jaenani Netra.


It also stars actress Jamuna Rani, actor V. Mohan and event emcee and host G.T. Mani.

"The idea was to create videos with entertaining yet meaningful messages, which would resonate with viewers," said MCI's Ms Hariyanti.

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

The clip shows various 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 video was conceptualised by two young PA officers, Ms Veronica Bala, and Ms Cindy Soh, from PA's marketing and digital communications division.

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

Most of the cast were volunteers and beneficiaries from the Bukit Merah Community Centre and Radin Mas Community Club.


On Wednesday, the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) also posted a video entitled Treasure - A MEWR Deepavali Short Film.

In the clip, two children make video calls to their busy father and see him using single-use disposable items such as plastic cups. They later surprise him with a Deepavali gift when he returns home.

On Friday, MEWR said the clip highlights the importance of reducing packaging waste, including plastic items.

"Through Treasure, we hope to encourage everyone to opt for reusables wherever possible. Small, positive steps like these will help us reduce avoidable waste," said Ms Selina Lim, the ministry's director of communications and 3P partnership.

The Deepavali clips are but the latest in a series of festive videos put up by government agencies.

In June, national water agency PUB released a short film called Kinship ahead of Hari Raya Puasa. The film, a take on brotherhood and family ties, bagged the "highly commended" award in the international category at the 24th Canberra Short Film Festival.

For Chinese New Year, the Singapore Civil Defence Force posted a music video in February that shows SCDF officers in their uniforms gathering over a steamboat reunion meal.

The song that plays in the clip is a remix of the popular Chinese New Year song Gong Xi Gong Xi and is sung by SCDF personnel.