Air India, India’s leading global airline, today unveiled ‘Safety Mudras’, the airline’s new inflight safety video that seamlessly blends safety instructions with the kaleidoscope of India’s vibrant culture. Conceptualised & Developed in collaboration with the visionary trio of Prasoon Joshi of McCann Worldgroup, Shankar Mahadevan and Bharatbala the video is meticulously crafted to engage passengers and showcase the diversity and depth of the Indian culture, while delivering essential safety information.

For centuries, Indian classical dance and folk-art forms have served as mediums of storytelling and instruction. Air India’s new inflight safety video integrates safety instructions with mudras or dance expressions in eight diverse dance forms – Bharatnatyam, Bihu, Kathak, Kathakali, Mohiniyattam, Odissi, Ghoomar, and Giddha – from around the country.

Each featured dance form presents a specific safety instruction, providing vital information in an engaging and culturally immersive manner.

Campbell Wilson, CEO & MD, Air India, said: “As a flagbearer of the country and a longstanding patron of Indian art and culture, Air India is delighted to present a work of art that is designed to deliver essential safety instructions while showcasing India’s rich cultural diversity to travellers around the world. Our guests will find this inflight safety video to be more immersive and informative, and a warm welcome to India from the moment they step onboard.”

Featuring music composed by Grammy Award-winning music composer and singer Shankar Mahadevan, the video invites passengers to experience a harmonious fusion of safety and culture. This project, spanning approximately six months, involved creators travelling and capturing the essence of India visually through mesmerizing locations across the length and breadth of the country.

The safety video will be initially accessible exclusively on Air India’s recently introduced A350 aircraft, which is equipped with state-of-the-art inflight entertainment screens. It will be progressively deployed on other aircraft in Air India’s fleet.

Prasoon Joshi, Chaiman McCann Worldgroup Asia Pacific, CEO & CCO McCann Worldgroup India; and celebrated writer & lyricist:

“Tasked with the challenge to create a concept that keeps passengers engaged, embody Indian culture and elevate the Air India brand globally, we went to great lengths to poise the essential and the evocative. Indian classical dance forms have one unique dimension – storytelling. And that is what made me think of this idea of using these Indian dance forms to deliver the safety instructions for air travel.

I am fortunate that this idea found resonance with the fantastic Air India team. And, with a longtime friend and ever brilliant Bharatbala who really made this thought possible. It’s indeed a matter of pride for McCann to work with Air India.”

Shankar Mahadevan, celebrated Indian music composer and singer:

“I am very happy I got to create the music for the safety instruction video for Air India. With the new chapter of Air India, their safety instruction video too is pathbreaking and very culturally rich. It is a combination of the various dance forms from India – with the dancers demonstrating the safety briefing actions by way of mudras. The music changes as per the dance form as well. Cheers to Air India for creating something that has never been done before, I am very proud to be a part of this.”

Bharatbala, Indian film director, producer and screenwriter:

“Having previously worked on projects that showcase the cultural diversity of India, this nuanced opportunity from Air India, enabled me to present our timeless classical and folk-art forms with a contemporary vision. We are an ancient country but with a modern outlook. And for India’s leading global carrier, Air India, to communicate a safety mandate in this manner brought even more responsibility on me to create a spectacle. Filming across the beautiful landscapes and monuments, giving each dance form its place of pride, is truly an enriching experience.

This journey enables the passengers to experience India visually, musically, and emotionally on a grand canvas. This film will be etched as one of my special creations and I hope will be an added feather in the rich legacy of Air India. Welcome on board!”

‘Safety Mudra’: Mudra, a Hindi word that translates to ‘(hand) gestures,’ is one of the most striking features of Indian classical dance as a form of expression, used in the new inflight safety video for demonstration.

The video unfolds with an Air India cabin crew member warmly welcoming a young female passenger, whose gaze is drawn to the Air India ‘Vista’ (a golden window frame unveiled last year as an integral part of Air India’s new global brand identity). As she playfully peeks through the ‘Vista’, a magical cultural spectacle unfolds before her.

The first enchanting act features Bharatnatyam, a dance that becomes the living canvas for seat belt and cabin baggage instructions. The narrative then gracefully transitions to pristine seashores with Odissi, where the dance unfolds the art of securing seats and tray tables.

Kathakali and Mohiniyattam then take the stage, as the performers eloquently express the prohibition of electronic gadgets and smoking on board – shot in the tranquil backwaters of Kerala. Kathak demonstrates emergency exits and the deployment of oxygen masks.

The safety jacket instructions take a vibrant twist with lively Bihu dancers from Assam, followed by Ghoomar performed in Jaipur, adding a delightful touch to this symphony of safety and culture. Finally, the viewers are transported to the fields of Punjab, where Gidda dancers draw attention to the importance of the safety card found on board.

• Conceptualisation: Prasoon Joshi of McCann Worldgroup India
• Music: Shankar Mahadevan
• Director: Bharatbala
• Director of Photography: Marc Koninckx
• Choreographer: Brinda Master

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