The tradecraft behind a thriller


By Sukant Deepak
New Delhi, Sep 15 |
‘Canary Trap, ‘Starburst Maneuver, ‘Camp Swampy and ‘Dangle form common vocabulary for someone who at the age of 18 started writing ‘Bard of Blood that was adapted into a very successful OTT series.

Spy thriller is a genre that holds a special place for author Bilal Siddiqi for it allows him to play out adventures in his head. No wonder, he is excited about his second book in the genre ‘The Phoenix’ (Penguin Random House) which revolves around a scenario where a virus is used in an attack to destabilize world order.

“The idea of this book came to me back in late 2017, when I wanted to return to this form of fiction. In fact, it was completed back in October last year much before the pandemic hit. Of course, the way the virus broke out in reality is different from what happens in the book, but it was still quite a coincidence for me,” Siddiqi tells IANS.

Stressing that considering the fact that not many people are writing spy novels in India, the young author feels that he can bridge that gap and get eyeballs by keeping the plot fast-paced and the characters relatable.

Crediting actor Shah Rukh Khan and Red Chillies Entertainment, where he was interning at that time, for the OTT dramatisation of the book, the author says, “We pitched the book to the platform and they green lit the show after considering it and meeting us a few times. It was extremely exciting.”

“As for the book, the journey started with me assisting S. Hussain Zaidi on his books. I think I was 18 back then. I remember him casually asking me if I was writing something of my own. I told him that I was. There were three-four chapters of a very early draft of Bard that I sent him. Considering he didn’t respond for a while, I thought he really hated it. However, it turned out that Zaidi had sent it to Penguin to see if they’d be interested in publishing,” the author recalls.

Depending on information on intelligence services in the public domain, S. Hussain Zaidi guidance, and not to mention, tips from a former CIA interrogator, Siddiqi, who has also written books like ‘The Kiss of Life’ (co-authored with Emraan Hashmi) and ‘The Stardust Affair’, adds, “The mail from the former CIA officer helped me get an American perspective on the conflicts that my book dealt with.”

While ‘The Phoenix’ has already been optioned by a production house for dramatisation, the author says, “Although they would prefer to talk about it when the time is right, I guess.”

Siddiqi, who loves watching films, reading and uses the PlayStation to bust stress, is also working on a film script. “But it is an entirely different ballgame as compared to writing a novel – both in terms of the craft and on how it actualises. A novel is more personal. Film is so much more collaborative.”

While he wants to write another book soon for the entire process proves to be much “therapeutic”, he adds, ” I am thinking of a funny, contemporary coming-of-age story. Right now, I am trying to let it crystallise in my mind before putting it down,” he concludes.

Source: IANS

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Policybazaar Unveils its new brand campaign "AapKiSideHai"

Policybazaar Unveils its new brand campaign

Akshay Kumar delivers the brand’s promise of always being on the customer’s side

Gurugram, 19th Sept, 2020: (Twitter handle: PolicyBazaar), India’s largest online insurance marketplace with over 10 million customers, showcases its commitment to customers in its new television campaign “AapKiSideHai”. The new ad campaign featuring Policybazaar brand ambassador, Akshay Kumar, highlights the brand’s promise of embracing a holistic customer centric approach while helping to bridge the insurance protection gap in India.

Policybazaar’sAapKiSideHai campaign seeks to reassure its customers on being a dependable Insurance partner for them, every step of the way. The brand has always focused on distributing products like term insurance, health insurance, zero commission ULIP’s and motor insurance that are optimal from a customer perspective. Policybazaar is now extending the brand promise beyond the purchase experience to ensure that consumers get the highest levels of service throughout the policy lifecycle.

The new brand campaign reinforces Policybazaar core value of putting the customer first by delivering on its promise of providing a trusted platform for all types of insurance products. The brand is committed to guiding the customer throughout the insurance journey, starting from recommending the right products at affordable pricing, ensuring thatthe policy issuance process is smooth and fast, and, to providing services and claims assistance when needed.

“While we continue to highlight the importance of Health & Term life Insurance through our marketing campaigns, with the brand promise of Policybazaar AapKiSideHai, we also intend to position Policybazaar as a customer centric brand, that is committed to stand by its customers, both pre and post purchase”, said Samir Sethi, Head of Brand Marketing, The new ad series highlights Policybazaar’s unparalleled support to customers, while providing them with the ease of comparing and buying term and health plans online with guidance at each & every step.

Speaking about the TVC launch, Sharat Dhall, Chief Operating Officer, said, “Our ultimate aim is to provide 360-degree assistance to customers that starts from when the policy is bought, to provide assistance when the claim is paid out, should such a situation arise. Winning and maintaining customer trust is a strong ethos within the company and this campaign reflects that. At a time when the world is grappling with a crisis like no other, the brand intends to instill confidence in the customers’ buying decisions by assuring them protection of their futures with the right insurance products & thorough assistance throughout the journey.”

The new brand campaign in its series displays moments of indecision that people may have while investing in protection products. It addresses these queries &emphasizes the importance of nurturing a bond with the consumers thereby creating customer delight.


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