Kitchen Confidential

Meet Me In Mumbai


The original idea was to gather hundreds of moms in India to make meals for their sons living in New York, and to fly these dishes to their sons. But logistically it was very complicated to fly food to the United States. So over the months after the original concept, we kept reducing the number of moms and the number of dishes, and the role of British Airways as a connector grew. Finally, the story had become very emotional, so we decided to surprise one mother in Mumbai by reuniting her with her son. That was the most universal story.

We shot for four days in Mumbai. We had to think of the reunion as a live shoot—we wouldn’t have a second chance to capture that moment of surprise. We flew Ratnesh, the son, from New York to Mumbai the day before we shot in the kitchen. Ratnesh had been really cool through the whole process, but by the end of the day, when we were about to finish, he was really nervous. He was watching his mom on the monitor, not looking at anyone, and he almost walked directly into the kitchen. We had to actually stop him and hold him back—without making any noise.

We’d been warned we would be shooting at the beginning of the monsoon season, and the monsoon began the day after that shoot. We were still shooting video, and we had to cut it short. If the monsoon had hit a day earlier, we would have had a lot of issues with the sound. When you shoot with an open mike, you capture everything, and the monsoon sounded like a machine gun.

The video went live in July, and we had more than 700,000 YouTube hits in just the first few weeks. In the comments, people have just opened up about their moms and spoken about their experiences. The CEO of LinkedIn even sent out a message singling out the video as extremely well-done branded content. Since it went live, ticket sales are up over last year, and British Airways has added flights to Mumbai and designed an India-specific seat sale.

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