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Treatment Note - Nicotex

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Treatment Note I wrote, referenced and designed for a well known ad film director.

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Treatment Note - Nicotex

  1. 1. “A free man, a happy man.” TREATMENT NOTE BY DIR NAME
  2. 2. Some things in life don’t come easy but when they do, the pleasure that they provide is invaluable, immeasurable and absolutely unparalleled. Sometimes under peer pressure, sometimes under duress and sometimes in the ecstasy of the youth, we take some decisions that we may later regret because decisions have consequences. One misstep in life can cause a lot of harm. Unfortunately, your decisions don’t just affect you but also those around you, those who love you and those you love with all your heart. Some of your bad decisions may impact their lives as much as your own and smoking is one of them. A habit you perhaps picked up as a youth, now haunts you, shackles you and dictates your life against your own will.You are worried about those around you but the puppeteer that has found shelter inside of your own body won’t let you do what you want to do despite your greatest effort.
  3. 3. You open your eyes and all that you see is an impenetrable wall – a wall of smoke. No hope in sight. It feels much like the end.And all you want is a hand; a helping hand.A hand that can pull you out of this overwhelming haze. Where is that friendly hand?
  4. 4. Just when life seems to hit a wall, you find a great friend in Nicotex.When all doors seem to close on you, when all the attempts fail and when the light begins to dim, Nicotex comes as a beacon of hope. This idea forms the crux of our film – NICOTEX IS THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL. The light that gives meaning and purpose to life, the light that brings back happiness and brightness in relationships that had become strained because of one habit that just could not be kicked.
  5. 5. With this film, we would make Nicotex a brand that becomes associated with hope and happiness. Nicotex would stop being a mere brand name and become a part of the vocabulary that denotes hope, smile and happiness. Our films while simple in their telling are rich with evocativeness and emotional gravity. Both the films beautifully capture the struggle and inner turmoil of the main characters who really seem to have reached the cul-de-sac, in the first film through visualization and in the second, through the husband’s narration.There is a distinct journey and character arc through the film as we see our men progress from an apparent point of no return to hope and finally victory against all odds.With the help of Nicotex, they have fought every odd for the sake of their health and their family’s well- being and found a new life again. This arc is the axle that drives this film forward and lends meaning, depth and a visceral quality to these wonderfully simple films.
  6. 6. FILM 1 - AEROPLANE
  7. 7. Story Flow We open the film in the economy class of an airplane. A father and a son have settled in their seats.The son who is sitting at the window is helped into the confines of the seatbelt by the father. Just then a man comes and sits in the aisle seat.The father is clearly a bit uncomfortable sandwiched between the son and the stranger. His displeasure and irritability seem to be an intrinsic part of his life. He notices that he gets neither handrest to place his hand on because they are both occupied. Just as he is about to express his annoyance to the stranger, the stranger pulls out a Nicotex pack and pops a gum into his mouth.The father notices the pack and becomes cynical. In order to show his cynicism, his tone would be rather sharp and caustic.The father says,“This…Nicotex…does this really work?” The stranger who realizes he is being spoken to, turns to the father and says,“This? Sirf gum se cigarette kaise choot sakti hai?Yahi sooch rahe ho na?”The father who was feeling peevish suddenly mellows down recognizing the fact that the man seems to understand exactly what he feels.The father shrugs his shoulders and nods suggesting that is exactly what he was thinking. The man seems to know the father’s feelings because he has perhaps been in the same position. Rather than sound like a know-it-all, he remains humble, gives the father the benefit of the doubt and says simply what he knows by experience,“Well, meri toh do mahino se band hai...”
  8. 8. The father now begins to open up. He throws his head back, exhales air and says with great despondency,“Mujhse chhoot hi nahi rahi…” He looks at his son who is busy playing a game on the iPad with headphones around his ears. The father whispers, “…dar lagta hai kahin yeh na seekh jaaye…” He looks straight ahead and momentarily becomes quiet but he is dying to say more, something is bothering him.The stranger is still looking at him because he knows that the conversation hasn’t yet ended. Then the father gives in, “Kal ki hi baat hai…issne mooh mein pencil aise…daldi.” He gesticulates with his fingers the action of smoking and shakes his head. The stranger feels sorry for the father and says, “Samajh sakta hun.” Then he offers the pack of Nicotex to the father and says, “Try it... Meri Cigarette choot gayi hai, aapki bhi choot jayegi…” Saying that, he pulls out an imaginary cigarette from his mouth, extinguishes it and tosses it away. They both laugh.
  9. 9. The voice over exudes, “Nicotex Nicotine Gum.  Ek scientific aur proven tareeka…joh cigarette peene ki ichcha ko kare kam…yaani cigarette chhodne mein mile madad…12 hafton mein…” We end the film with the pack shot – Nicotex. It works!The super reads,“No.1 Doctor Recommended Brand in India.” We cut to the product window. We see our father character popping a Nicotex gum into his mouth. We cut to a clock made up of cigarettes instead of numbers. As the Nicotex pack representing the clock hand rotates on its axis in the centre of the clock, the cigarettes begin to disappear signifying the effect of Nicotex on the body. Complete with the sound of a ticking clock, through t h i s p r o d u c t w i n d o w w e communicate that Nicotex controls body cravings and in time, completely eliminates it.
  10. 10. Cast & Character This film is about real problems and finding real solutions. It is meant to resonate with people who are facing the turmoil and tribulations that our characters are facing and it is only natural that for that to happen, we need our characters to be like real people. They need to evoke empathy, sympathy and a sense of identification to increase the overall credibility of the film and its message. When the audiences watch the film, they should see a reflection of themselves or their loved ones in these characters and empathize with them. Only when they feel the pain our characters feel, will they stay with the characters till the end and feel convinced about the solution presented on the screen. The journey of the characters on the screen would also become the journey of the audiences. Our audiences may not have experienced the success yet but they have found hope that there is after all a solution to their pressing problem in Nicotex. The father is really the protagonist who undergoes the journey and the arc that is so crucial to the success of this film – from sheer hopelessness and consequential perennial displeasure and peevishness to a sudden infusion of hope and light. He may not have tasted the success of Nicotex yet but coming from a man who knows his exact feelings, his sense of hope is like a second coming. Our actor’s expressions, emotions, his body language and his nuanced understanding of human behaviour will make this film come alive and become a ray of light for many out there struggling to kick the terrible habit of smoking. The two men; the father and the stranger are quite close in age, economic and educational background and social standing; perhaps they are both mid-level businessmen or working at a mid level jobs in private firms. This proximity is important so that we can separate the two solely by the Nicotex factor and nothing else.
  11. 11. The stranger is pretty much the future version of the father character. He has been through the same traumas as the father and tried every method until he hit the perfect formula. He so easily understands the father’s character because he was exactly like him just a few weeks back. But now suddenly with hope restored, he is a peaceful, confident man whose life has fallen back on track. He is neither craving for his cigarettes anymore nor constantly worried about his and his family’s health. He feels much younger and energetic now as opposed to a few weeks back. All of this positivity reflects in his eyes and demeanour. We can distinguish between the two men not just by their attitude and behaviour but also by physicality. While they are both much the same age, we can show that the stranger is more youthful, energetic, nimble and cheerful compared to the father who is haggardly, enervated, fatigued and grumpy. One is more contained and erect and the other droopy and sprawling; their health and inner peace clearly reflect in their appearance. The 8-10 year old boy who is busy playing a game is just like any other little boy; unaware, oblivious to the problems around him and happy in his little secure world. It is this innocence of his that makes the film even more poignant and profound. When you realize that a little kid who is yet to experience life, its many majesties and beauties, is already exposed to dangers not from outside or from strangers but from his very own people within the house he considers his world, you feel shaken. He may not have a big role to play in the film but his very presence paints a disturbing reality. A reality we conveniently ignore on a day to day basis but when a film like this reminds us of the harm we are doing to our own loved ones it leaves a deep impact.While the father is a doting father which we establish through their closeness, comfort and general chemistry, it is evident that he lives with an overwhelming sense of fear that he will turn his son into himself, someone he has come to loathe now.
  14. 14. Look & Feel This film is about a journey, journey from utter despondency and helplessness to hope and cheerfulness. It is interesting that a film about a journey actually takes place in an airplane.The plane hence becomes a symbol for a forward moving journey from dark to light and low to high. Since this film is a psychological journey of a man, it is important that we paint the film in the light of our character’s emotions such that the space around these characters become a canvas, a manifestation of their psychological state. Considering that the plane is an analogy for a spiritual movement from turmoil to inner peace, we would divide the look of the film into two segments; before Nicotex and after. Before Nicotex, the world is dark, depressing and high contrast to evoke the dramatic nature of a troubled mind. After Nicotex the world is beautiful, bright and overwhelmed with light. To justify this transition, we can move from night to day. When the journey begins, it is still early hours and the space outside the plane is engulfed in sheer darkness. Inside there are overhead night lights that cast a dim light on the characters. The light and shadow create drama and dynamism to suggest that there is more than meets the eye, that there is something lurking in the darkness. We can also create a difference in lighting between the father and the stranger by having a reading light on, atop the stranger that would constantly illuminate him while the father would be dimly lit to suggest that the stranger has already acquired enlightenment while the father is still unaware.The intervention of Nicotex coincides with the dawn of the day.The sun may not have risen yet but the light has broken in the horizon and the sky is glowing crimson red.The mauve tinge rains down on the world and bathes everyone, especially our father in its ethereal quality. As the first rays of the sun fall on him, his worries seem to dissipate. Nicotex has ushered in a new day, brought forth a new light of hope and this imagery we quite literally see in our film’s space.
  17. 17. FILM 2 - ROTI
  18. 18. Story Flow We open the film with a couple in their 30s having a fun time in the kitchen.The husband, in an apron, is rolling dough to make roti while the wife in the backdrop is busy making a nice curry. Perhaps they are cooking for some guests who are to come over, apparent from the nicely done up house. The husband finishes rolling his dough, picks up the roti to put it on the pan already on the stove when he realizes that there is a big hole right in the middle of it. The wife behind sniggers as she sees his failed attempt. With a cute look of naughtiness, he looks through the hole in the roti and says, “Sochne mein aur karne mein phark hota hai…Hai na?” He turns the roti into a ball again, setting out on his second attempt. As he starts rolling again, he looks into the camera and says, “Hum sochte hain jab chahenge… cigarette chhod denge…chhootti hai…” We see that the roti he is rolling is coming out in a strange shape. “Maine  bhi  socha…  Bahut  baar try  kiya…Par har baar 7 / 8 din ke liye chhod pata…Phir office ka stress…phir chaloo…” (One suggestion here is to infuse sounds of a busy office and a stressful environment when our husband talks about the stress of the office.)
  19. 19. We cut to the wife behind busy tasting and cooking. She lifts a spoonful of curry and moves towards the husband to get his opinion on the taste. As he slurps from the spoon and with a thumbs up suggests it’s good, he continues,“Priya aur mere roz arguments hote the…woh samaj hi nahi paati thi…And to be fair…woh samjhegi bhi kaise…She’s not a smoker…” (Once again, like earlier, we can infuse an echo from the past of the fights between the husband and the wife merely through sounds.) Finally his roti is done and miraculously, it turned out to be round and free of holes in it. He tosses it on the pan and continues, “Phir Nicotex try kiya…pata hai... kaafi din hogaye cigarette peeye…achcha lagta hai…” Suddenly the wife comes close to him, dabs some flour on his nose, laughs and says,“Aur kaafi din hogaye humme lade…” She tears a piece out of the bloated roti made by her husband and feeds it to him.Yummmm – his immodest expressions seem to be saying!They both laugh.
  20. 20. Cast & Character Our film is a simple story of a loving husband and wife who have finally found their bliss in marriage. Perhaps in this union through love marriage, they have always seen the good in each other and appreciated each other’s qualities.The reason behind the tension in their marriage was the husband’s smoking. The wife was worried both for his health and the family’s and the husband despite his best attempts was unable to quit. Sometimes tension in marriage arises out of complete lack of understanding or unwillingness to deal with issues, but what do you do when the tension arises not for lack of effort but due to one’s inability to do anything to help the tough situation?! Our couple has always been deeply in love and respected each other but genuine concerns created a rift whereby things started getting sour. Thankfully all of that is now in the past. Nicotex has brought back the old love, respect and immense camaraderie in the relationship. They are back to being friends, lovers and family that respect each other, understand each other and value each other’s company. Every moment is invaluable and it is evident in their cooking together that they cherish each other’s company. There may have been a time when they avoided being in each other’s way for the fear of starting a fight but now that the problem has been left behind, they do everything in their capacity to be a family again, to be with each other again. On this Sunday when they are expecting guests, the husband has decided that he is not going to leave all the hard work of preparations and cooking on the wife, he loves and respects her enough to want to help out and be worthwhile, if not as a great cook at least as a good husband by lending his good humour and moral support.
  22. 22. Look & Feel The main difference between this film and the previous film is the structure. While the previous film, relevantly set inside an aeroplane is about a man’s journey from complete and utter despondency to hope and light, this film is about a man who is already redeemed. He is the one who already knows the solution unlike the previous film’s protagonist who was still in search of a solution. So, unlike the previous film where we divided the look of the film into dark and bright to distinguish between the two different moods in the film, in this film we will have just one simple look which demonstrates the positive mood and outlook of our characters, their wonderful present relationship and chemistry and the beautiful moment they are sharing together before welcoming some guests home. We must also ensure that the space looks absolutely real for the audience to be able to identify with the characters and their surroundings, for them to feel that the problems of the characters are their own just as their solutions are their own. Keeping the tone of the film and the mood of the moment in mind, we will have a nice open-kitchen living room kind of a modern space with traditional elements that give the space a cultural and evocative touch, a perfect representation of contemporary India. The day is bright. The light outside is glorious and this glory finds its way in through the windows. The sun streams in and envelopes the characters in its golden light lending them a cheeriness that they feel in that moment. As the smoke rises from the pots and the pans on the stove, it finds its contours highlighted against the sun that shines behind. The wife who is almost entirely backlit, sometimes becomes a silhouette and hence a cursory part of the film from certain angles but when she interacts with the husband, with the sun behind her, she glows, looking absolutely divine and ethereal. As they move around and portray an interesting relationship dynamic, the flares dance around them and create magic.
  26. 26. Music Much as everything else, the music would capture the nature of a psychological journey of a human mind. Just as the visuals paint the picture of a world that transitions from dejection and gloom to brightness and effervescence, the music would too. We would create a piece of music that enhances the emotional gravity of the film and punctuates the pivotal moments that change the tone and the nature of the journey. In the first film, we start on a dark night when our character seems to be shrouded in a smoke of helplessness and dismay. Just as the light is dim, the score would be minimal, perhaps a single string quietly enhancing the poignancy of the moment. But as the tone becomes bright and the mood uplifts, the music becomes more complex, more instruments weave in and a merry rhythm begins to take over until the entire piece gains a buoyancy and foot-tapping quality. The ‘Roti’ film, on the other hand, has a single tone throughout the film and while it doesn’t have the emotional rise that the first film has, it has a peppiness and evocativeness of a beautiful relationship throughout the film.The strings dance to the groove of the rhythm, the winds interweave with the clanging of the vessels caused perhaps by the husband who beats the spoons on the counter waiting for the roti to cook.Add to it, some Indian flavour through instrumentation and melody and what you have is the perfect platform for this wonderful film to revel in.
  27. 27. It would be an absolute pleasure to be a part of a film that celebrates hope, light and new life. Successfully kicking a bad habit is nothing short of redemption. It is like the beginning of a new life which is healthier not just for your body but also for your mind that has been guilty, troubled and traumatized. It is a new beginning also for your family that has paid for the decision you took as a young person. It is truly the breaking of the shackles that bound you all these years. Every smoker knows that kicking the habit is much easier said than done. Every smoker has at some point in life wanted to quit but hasn’t been able to do so or relapsed during tensed moments in life. Which is why every smoker will understand that just wanting to do something is not enough, you need a friend who can guide you and help you along the way and that friend is Nicotex. It is this relationship – friendship, guardianship, mentorship – between Nicotex and the protagonist that needs to be established through this film. Performances, casting, cinematography and music will tie this film together into an impactful carrier of a very important and meaningful message. What is also important to this film is devising a nice product window that visualizes the success of the programme within a set period of time, it would create a relationship between time and reduction of cravings with the use of Nicotex. I would truly be proud to be a part of these wonderful films. Thank You!