Road safety campaigns maybe just one of the effective ways in curbing accidents but they are a necessity nevertheless. While some campaigns take the humour route to convey the consequences, others are deep rooted in stirring the human conscience and evoking feelings of guilt and responsibility towards society and our loved ones.
The latest initiative called ‘Guilt’ by the Mumbai Traffic Police is one such effort that makes the case stronger for calling a taxi when you’ve been drinking with friends. Seemingly inspired by a true tragedy, it succeeds in shaking you up and making you think a second time before you decide to drive home drunk after the party.
The public service film by FCB Ulka is a 3-minute journey into a man’s guilty conscience. It begins with this guy weeping nonstop, suffering from pangs of guilt.
He is at the funeral of his friend who got killed the night before from driving home drunk. The guilty protagonist cannot meet eyes with the dead man’s family, and is seen struggling to overcome huge waves of guilt. He happens to see the dead man standing amongst the mourners too, and his guilt multiplies.
The film takes us back to what had happened the previous night at the office party; the protagonist is seen forcing the man to have another beer despite his protests that he needs to drive back home. The guilt-ridden man is unable to cope with the writhing pain when he is met with the figure of the dead man now standing right across the road. The dead man is seen bleeding from internal injuries to his head, while having a questioning look on his face. This is the protagonist’s severe guilt because others are unable to see the dead man.
The protagonist is seen kneeling while pleading for forgiveness, and all we see is a car in front of him. His friend is dead but our protagonist’s guilt is imagining him everywhere.
Drink responsibly and drive responsibly
‘Guilt’ can be a painful thing for the one alive, and this film clearly conveys how it can haunt you for life. The central message of ‘Drink responsibly and drive responsibly’ is brought out all too well.
Recently, Maruti Suzuki had rolled out a series of eight videos to tackle the commonly flouted road safety rules in the country – drunk driving, not stopping at a red light, jumping lanes, using your mobile while driving, not wearing a helmet, not wearing a seat belt, not sparring the footpath for pedestrians, not making way for an ambulance. The protagonists in each of the films are well aware of what risks they are taking and how it can impact other peoples’ lives, and therein lies the irony. All the films end with the thought-provoking message, “If we know it’s wrong, why do we still do it?”
While Maruti Suzuki’s video-driven series does manage to stir our conscience, it doesn’t do much to impact our decision making on the road. Comparably, Mumbai Traffic Police’s ‘Guilt’ communicates strongly on responsible drinking and driving. The public service film has the power to influence our decisions and could well be adapted by taxi hailing app companies, liquor brands and automakers in their road safety initiatives.