The city does the happy dance

‘Come along if you believe happiness is the truth…’ goes Pharrell Willams’ ‘Happy’ song from the film Despicable Me 2. And Kochi just got ‘happy’ this week at Centre Square mall. Some trained dancers, some random folk – young, old, men, women, boys, girls – on the street, roadside or mall were videographed dancing to the song. The familiar sights of our city have been showcased including the ubiquitous tourist in Fort Kochi—the backwaters, the malls, popular hangouts in the city, places in Fort Kochi (even its pink Fiat car). “We tried to include a lot of things, and ethnicities, which are synonymous with Kochi,” says Andrine Mendez of Saltmangotree, a city-based digital branding agency that made the Kochi version of the video.

The infectious, trending happiness video proclaims Kochi’s ‘adipoli’ happy status. Cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai have done the happy dance and Saltmangotree wanted to put Kochi’s attitude on the map, too. The video has set format across the world and Kochi stuck to it.

Pharrell Williams has collaborated with the United Nations to celebrate the International Day of Happiness on March 20 and cities around the worldhave danced to the video—all proclaiming their faith in happiness. One video led to another and there are, supposedly, around 900 versions of the song (video) from 94 countries, according to a website dedicated to collecting these videos.

For the Kochi version, getting the people to do the jig wasn’t too difficult, says Andrine.The video was shot over a period of two-three days. Most of the people the crew approached to record the video were sporting enough to ‘happily’ dance along. However, “we approached a few auto chettans and members of a workers’ union, but they told us they weren’t happy enough to do the dance.” Most of the dancers in the video who shake a leg to the song are not professionals, “they were just shown videos on the mobile phones and the rest was their way of showing happiness,” says Poornima Vishwanathan. She was one of the few professional dancers in the video.

“People’s way of showing happiness was different and they expressed their happiness in ways we hadn’t unimagined. We went to a fish market and asked some of the fisher folk how they would express happiness. They just shook their hands to the rhythm. It is all about the emotion,” she says. Go to happykochi.com to get adipoli happy.