Searching for Memories

The new Google ad recorded half-a-million hits as it went online on Wednesday. Overnight, people were sharing, tweeting and sinking into nostalgia over the ad that talks about separation, friendship and the celebration of a reunion. It follows the story of two childhood friends separated during Partition and who find each other after six decades with help from their grandchildren through Google.

The scriptwriter for the ad, Sukesh Kumar Nayak of Ogilvy & Mather, says he was pleasantly surprised when a tech giant like Google specified in their brief that the only thing they wanted was to see was how meaningful the search engine is in real life. "Our entire life revolves around Google, it is our instant response to something we don't know. But we wanted to dig deeper, and make the connection between real life and Google, magical," says Nayak.

The three-and-half minute ad was shot in different areas in Delhi, including an old haveli in Connaught Place, Red Fort, India Gate and a small scene in Lahore, Pakistan. "We have all heard stories about Partition and how friends and families were separated. So the background for the ad was set," says Mumbai-based Amit Sharma of Chrome Pictures who directed the commercial. Singer Clinton Cerejo has given the music.

As the ad begins we see an 80-something Baldev (VM Badola) in his small store in Delhi narrate the stories of his childhood to his granddaughter Suman (Auritra Ghosh). He remembers the times he spent with his best friend, Yusuf (MS Sathyu), flying kites in a park in Lahore and stealing jhajariyas from Yusuf's Fazal Sweets. This sends the granddaughter on an online search until she speaks to Yusuf himself. And on her grandfather's birthday, she arranges a reunion between Yusuf and Baldev.

The ad has got an overwhelming response on YouTube. "A viewer told me that his grandfather handed his business to his associates, when he moved to India after the Partition. After seeing the ad, he looked it up, and found it thriving. Now he's planning to connect with his associates again," says Sharma.

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