Written by on Nov 23, 2010. Posted in Production News

Conan O’Brien weaves curtains in India for American Express

Chat show host Conan O’Brien has been exploring the streets of Jaipur in north-west India for a new commercial from American Express. The spot shows him tracking down Indian silk that he weaves and dyes to use as the curtains on his show.

Avinash Shankar, of Stratum Films in India, said: “The commercial was filmed in the city of Jaipur, Rajasthan - specifically in the temple complex of Galtaji, at Chandani Chowk outside the City Palace, in the market areas near Hawa Mahal, from the hill across the Amber Fort.”

The production wanted full control of the location, which was going to be tricky in a crowded marketplace.

Instead they built a mock-up market nearby and filled it with 750 extras.

Shankar said: “Since you cannot block traffic or pedestrians in any manner on the streets in India for a shoot we set up a street market at the Galtaji temple location. That way we could use all the equipment we needed and have full control over the location, which was not possible if we had shot in a real market.”

Kevin Byrne, of Hungry Man, said: “We considered filming in Mumbai and Chenai, but we chose Jaipur as it has great Indian architecture and allows elephants to be filmed in the street. India is an amazing place to shoot. Crews are top-notch professionals. Driving in the city is a little nuts, so be ready.”

Jaipur is a two-hour flight from Mumbai and one-hour from New Delhi. The equipment was brought in from Mumbai and the production got hold of multiple permits.

Shankar said: “Galtaji is a privately owned temple complex and permission has to be obtained from the owner. Permission for Chandani Chowk has to be obtained from the Jaipur City Palace authorities as well as the police, traffic police and the Collector’s Office. Permission for filming on the streets near Hawa Mahal also has to be obtained from the police, traffic police and the Collector’s office.”

Client: American Express
Agency: Ogilvy & Mather
Group Creative Director: Chris Mitton
Production Company: Hungry Man
Producer: Kevin Byrne
Production Service Company: Stratum Films
Producer: Avinash Shankar
Director: Bryan Buckley


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