Utsav – a fantasy island holiday

Last night I was watching the old period movie Utsav. Where have all the Indian women who look like Rehka gone? Anyway, that is besides the point.

It is my thesis that premium holidays are going to move much closer to ‘experiences’ than to ‘places’. While Aman Resorts was the pioneer of the place-based experience holiday (Adrian Zecha, the founder of Aman says that all Aman does is to put a picture frame around an extraordinary natural setting), the next step will involve a creation of a composite, enveloping experience. And in this, I am pretty certain that Period experiences will be a big thing in the future. A new breed of vacations specialists will emerge, combining the detailed recreation of movie sets with powerful mechanical & digital capabilities of the amusement park industry and the sophisticated guest management of top end resorts. Targeted at the premium segment of the leisure market, these vacations will induce people to ‘voluntarily suspend disbelief’ for a much longer time than the 2 hours of a movie, maybe even up to a week.

Utsav, Girish Karnad’s mid-80s period movie is the perfect inspiration for one such vacation. All guests will have to shed their modern togs in favour of ancient clothes, electricity will be completely banned and the mood will reflect the life & times of Vasantsena & CharuDutt. It is my hope that I get to conceive this project. And if given a chance, I would love to set this project in one of the uninhabited islands of the Andamans.

In the meantime, I still cannot figure out where the true Indian woman went.


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