The ‘Happy Vizag’ video that was released on YouTube on April 11 has already garnered over 90,000 views

Happiness is contagious and Grammy winning American singer Pharrell Williams knows it best. His infectious hit, ‘Happy’ that has become an international pop anthem with millions around the world clapping along, moving and grooving, has floored Vizag too for more reasons than one.

The video that was released on You Tube on April 11 has not only delighted the hearts of Vizagites and brought back nostalgic memories to the ones away from the city, its unexpected popularity has made the core production team of the video happy beyond words!

In less than 10 days time, the video has garnered over 90,000 views on You Tube. And according to the core team of ‘Happy Vizag’, it is the second most popular video so far, after Chennai. “Bangalore and Chennai were among the first cities in India to come out with their ‘Happy’ videos. When we saw their videos, we too wanted to bring out one showcasing Vizag and the essence of happiness. But we never expected the video to get such a response,” say Nihar Yerubandi and Nirupama, the members of the core team of the video.

While Chennai has crossed two lakh views on You Tube in a month’s time, ‘Happy Vizag’ is the second most popular video going by the number of views on YouTube. Hyderabad has three versions of the ‘Happy’ video but they haven’t reached this scale of popularity yet.

So what made the ‘Happy Vizag’ video different? The seven-member core team behind the video had some simple ideas in mind – to add all the elements that defined ‘Vizag’, get the editing compact and catchy and pay attention to colour corrections.

The work was divided among the seven members depending upon the expertise and interests of each person. The direction and lighting effects were done by Prashanth Naik and the video was conceptualised by Ramya Kacherla. Prashanth and Ramya, both two IIM-B graduates who hail from Vizag but now live in Delhi. The cinematography was done by Lokesh Raze and Bharath Kumar and editing was done by Nihar, who is a Vizag-based wedding planner.

While many other ‘Happy’ videos are dance oriented, for the Vizag one it was conscious decision to keep the steps simple yet fun and catchy by Nirupama who did the choreography. Coordination and production was done by Rahul Vinnakota. Three days were all that took the spirited young team to finish shooting the video footage. But editing it was an uphill task, they admit. “At the end of it, we were staring at a 30-minute-long footage! And our biggest challenge was to get the best shots and cut it to a four-minute video,” says Nihar.

In all over 60 people featured in the video, many random strangers on the road who just decided to be a part of the “crazy, fun and happy” video. Shootings would begin at 5 a.m. every day at some of the favourite places of the city – R.K. Beach, Tenneti Park, Kailasagiri, the fly over and some famous temples.

Perhaps what made the video stand apart was the element of fun, happiness, a carefree spirit and yet the vivid colours and traditions that made the city ‘Vizag’.

“Bangalore and Chennai were more modernised and hep. Bangalore had some cool dance steps. But shots of temples were missing in most videos, which is an integral part of our culture,” says Nirupama.

Shot with the cameras Canon 650D and Nikon D7000, one of the biggest concerns the team faced was shooting the night shots and getting the right lighting effect. “Sometimes the lighting was too harsh or too dull. In one shot, the background was green and the person was holding a flower in front where the colours were very dull in the original footage. We highlighted minute details even in the clothes and flowers of the individuals,” Nihar said.

And there were the unexpected funny moments, which the team retained in the final version of the video. “Remember that bus scene with two guys gleefully dancing on the footpath? Well, the bus just happen the pass by and they both simply froze at that moment without knowing what to do. After we saw the recording, it seemed so funny that we included the scene as it is,” says Nihar.

As the weekend draws closer, the team of ‘Happy Vizag’ hopes to cross the one lakh view mark. Even as the popularity of their video grows day by day, connecting people from across countries to their memories of Vizag, the team is clear about one thing – they do not want to monetise this collaborated effort. But keep it as an ode to their beloved city – Vizag. The video is on YouTube under Pharrell Williams - Happy (Vizag, India).