Twenty children accompanied by their family members, hailing from different states in India and five countries, will land in Kerala on Friday and Saturday to begin their five-day tour of the State. Winners of the second edition of the Clint Memorial International Painting Competition, conducted by Kerala Tourism for artists between the ages of four and 16, the children will get the opportunity to see the land they had imaginatively picturised to win the top prizes of the contest.
“At each place, they will get an opportunity to interact with local artisans and experience a little of Kerala’s culture. On Monday, they will reach Thiruvananthapuram where they will interact with Kathakali artistes. They can see how the elaborate make-up is done and watch an abridged version of Balivadham ,” MR Hari explains enthusiastically. Managing director of Invis Multimedia, which had implemented the concept of a global online painting competition for Kerala Tourism, Hari and his firm have been providing information technology solutions to Kerala Tourism since 1998.
How does one encapsulate the attractions of a small state tucked away in a corner of the Indian sub-continent? With great imagination and some stunningly captivating videos, if one were to go by the content created by Invis.
- Invis Multimedia was initially christened as India Vision. Later, it was shortened and made Invis.
- Kerala Tourism comes out with online greetings for festivals such as Vishu, Onam, Ramzan and Christmas. These crisp videos are made by Invis.
“It all started when my partner, MR Ajith, and I began a state-of-the-art studio in 1995 in the city to make top-class documentaries and films. We were just out of college and had stars in our eyes. There were a couple of non-resident Indians who invested in our dream and we were in business with veteran mediaperson NRS Babu sir as our chairman. Since I did not have the financial resources, I was responsible for providing intellectual content and ideas,” recalls Hari.
However, when things did not pan out the way they had planned, they decided to make a video, Green Symphony, on Kerala and market it themselves. In 1998, the attractively-packaged interactive CD Rom gave an overview of the attractions of the State and a quick look at its culture and heritage.
Around that time, Kerala Tourism had decided to market the state’s tourism potential through IT solutions, videos and CDs and had invited a private firm to make one for the purpose.
“However, the video did not live up to the expectations of Kerala Tourism and that is when we decided to try our luck. We were in debt and struggling to stay afloat. Fortunately, Green Symphony, our CD on Kerala, was approved and the government managed to get us some ads and we were able to get through that rough patch. Kerala Tourism, under the helmanship of its then director Dr V Venu, was probably the first state in India to use such videos and IT solutions to promote tourism,” recalls Hari.
Since 1998, the firm has been developing the tourism website of the Kerala Tourism. Twenty years and several national and Pacific Asia Travel Awards (PATA) after, Invis Multimedia has notched up an enviable record for generating traffic to the website and coming up with several innovative IT ideas to keep Kerala Tourism in the sun.
- Edmund Thomas Clint (1976-83) was considered a child prodigy. He has been the subject of a number of books in Malayalam and English. In 2017, a Malayalam feature film was made on him.
- All participants of the contest in Clint’s name will be given certificates.
- Those who encouraged children to take part in the competition were given awards as ‘promoters’.
- Children from Russia, Bulgaria, Sri Lanka, Bangaladesh and Zimbabwe are in the group.
“We have won seven PATA awards in different categories and seven national awards too. As technology changes, we have managed to keep abreast of those changes. So from video and DVDs to YouTube and mobile WAP, we have developed content for different platforms,” says Hari.
He agrees that they probably have the largest collection of videos of Kerala’s performance arts and festivals in different regions of the State and many have subtitles in English to help viewers understand the nuances of the art form.
As Invis evolved, they brought out videos on Ayurveda, e-books, audio collections and so on, thus creating several firsts to their credit. “We also took up Kerala Tourism’s decision to go for live webcasts of festivals like Theyyam in Malabar and Thrissur Pooram and those were huge hits. We developed an app for Kerala Tourism and came up with a toilet survey for travellers in the State. If you are travelling in Kerala and wish to look for a washroom, our app will locate one for you,” he adds.
Constant innovation and out-of-the-box ideas to keep up with the concepts of Kerala Tourism have kept the firm on top of the game. Eventually, the NRI investors were bought out and 40 percent of the shares were given to the long-time employees of the firm.
“They have also become our partners and, as a result, attrition is low in our company,” says Hari with justifiable pride. He adds Invis today has 70 employees on its rolls and employs freelancers all over the State to provide content.
As the firm begins its third decade in the field, Hari points out that within the next three or four years, all the content developed by them is likely to become outdated and it would be time to move on. “It is imperative to keep updating our technology to cater to a new generation of travellers,” says Hari.