Chelsea's Drogba says Kerala is a dream place
Chelsea striker Didier Drogba joined famous stars from cinema, music and the fashion world in the UK to celebrate Kerala -- 'God's own country', as one of the world's top tourist destinations.
"Kerala is a dream place," said Drogba, who came to watch Your Moment is waiting, a new three-minute ad film of Kerala Tourism, premiered at the Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea on Tuesday night.
"It's my area. I am here to support anything that happens in my area," said the Ivory Coast national captain, whose team Chelsea's home ground Stamdford Bridge is only 20 minutes of walk from Saatchi Gallery.
Drogba was accompanied by his wife Alla.
Image: Didier Drogba
It's a place you want to go: Linekar
Your Moment is waiting, which is directed by Vodaphone's ZooZoo fame ad-maker Prakash Varma for Kerala Tourism's new global publicity campaign, captured the imagination of a host of celebrities, including former England striker Gary Linekar, current 400 metres Olympic gold medalist Christine Ohuruogu and leading NRI industrialist, Lord Swraj Paul.
Indian-origin British Labour MP Keith Vaz and Slumdog Millionnaire actor Dev Patel were among the guests.
"It's magic. The film really touches your soul" said Patel.
"It's a great film. There is magic in it. Now I feel I have to go back to Kerala to discover it again," said Malayalam megastar Mohan Lal, who posed for photographs with many members of the Indian community in London.
Linekar, who won the Golden Boot at the 1986 Mexico World Cup, said his model-presenter wife Daniele has been persuading him to visit Kerala.
"It's a place you want to go," said Linekar, now a soccer commentator who arrived with Daniele.
Image: A boat race in Kerala
'Kerala is slow, less crowded and unspoilt'
Ohuruogu, who confessed to having never heard about Kerala before, said: "Kerala seems to be very colourful and lively. It is one place I am going to add to the list of destination to visit before I die."
Smitha Tharoor, sister of Shashi Tharoor, former Minister of state for External Affairs, described the film as "brilliant".
"It is brilliantly made film reflecting the true image of Kerala as place full of surprises," she said.
"Kerala is the opposite of what you expect in India," said famous British photographer Seamus Murphy.
"Kerala is slow, less crowded and unspoilt."
Image: Decorated elephants during a programme organised for the participants of the Volvo Ocean Race in Cochin
'Experiences make a destination'
Among the early guests at the premiere was Rolling Stones lead singer Mick Jagger's daughter Jade Jagger, a former model and jewellery designer.
"Kerala is a very interesting place, very spiritual. It is a very special place in India," said Jade Jagger, who has visited Kerala several times.
The guests were mesmerised by Kerala's classical dance forms 'Mohiniattam' and 'Ottamthullal' performed by Corinne Mathow from France and Hartmut Schmidt from Germany.
Kerala Tourism secretary Dr Venu V, who spearheaded the Incredible Indian campaign, explained that the film was about connecting with potential visitors.
"We are trying to be different from others by saying pretty pictures don't make a destination, but experiences make a destination."
Image: Dancers from Kerala perform at a cricket match
Your Moment is waiting
Kerala Tourism Director M Shivshankar said "something in Kerala appeals to the visitors.
Many people who came to the state have come across a self-discovering experience."
Your Moment is waiting, directed by Prakash Varma and conceived by kerala Tourism's brand agency Stark Communications Ltd will hit theatres in the UK on Thursday and multiplexes in India on September 27.
Image: Oarsmen row their boat at the Nehru boat race in Alleppy district