Is India Ready To Accept Trans Woman As A Mother?

Over the years many brands have been using emotional themes to make a connection with consumers. Recently brand Vicks made headlines with a new ad film under its campaign #TouchOfCare. As we all know that Vicks is a brand that has always associated its products with the gentle touch of a mother’s care, as she caresses and gives relief to her child.

This time #TouchofCare has a twist, which raised many eyebrows for sure as the theme is against our so-called society norms. Conceptualised by Publicis Singapore, produced under the banner of SeeOn and Neeraj Ghaywan’s directorial this film narrates the story of an orphaned girl Gayatri and her single mother Gauri. Gayatri lost her parents at a very young age and was adopted by a trans woman Gauri.

Interestingly it’s based on real-life story of a Mumbai-based transgender rights activist Gauri Sawant, who raised Gayatri against all odds after her mother succumbed to HIV-AIDS.

Speaking about the campaign, Ghaywan said “Publicis Singapore, the advertising agency had come up with the concept. I wanted to meet Gauri and to be very honest; she was a bit hesitant initially. But fortunately soon we became friends and she had this beautiful story to tell. According to me it’s a story of dignity beyond labels.”

Set in the backdrop of a bus where Gayatri is narrating her story while travelling to the boarding school with her mother. She explains her strong emotional bond that she shares with her mother which every girl does. The film ends with the young girl stating that she wants to become a lawyer and fight for the rights of her mother.

Ghaywan had a great experience but was expecting some form of criticism from somewhere but it did not come. People have loved the ad and are calling it a slice of life and not a commercial. The film is praised by masses and within a week it has received over 5,511,793+ views on YouTube. Let’s check out what Ad Gurus have to say about this add film.

Expert’s opinion

According to Naresh Gupta, COO, Bang In The Middle, there are two issues run this ad, one is the portrayal the other is the brand fit.

Commenting on the ad film Gupta said, “Does LGBTQ community need a tokenism from a brand that too from a brand that comes from across the shore? One is the entire portrayal of the Transgender Mother, that portrayal is nice and heart-warming. Coming from a brand, you know that they are going to tug at your tear glands soon and make you cry. That is where the brand fit comes in, the brand dies nothing to the story its incidental. The brand is about mothers concern about her kids suffering from blocked nose. Blocked nose is irritating but doesn’t stop you from living life. Vicks plays this game well.”

Gupta believes that in this commercial, this game has not been played at all. He further mentioned that he personally doesn’t like brands barracking the tear glands that are so 70s. The LGBTQ community can do better than this tokenism that is exploits them to get likes win social media.

On the other side, Charulata Ravi Kumar, CEO, SapientRazorfish believes that for decades we have revered the transgender community more out of fear than with the purpose of natural inclusion. And they too, being cornered to exclusion, have expressed their frustration in ways which has fuelled this vicious cycle further.

“Touch of Care warms the cockles of your heart no matter which side of the believer boundary you choose to live on. Gauri Sawant and Gayatri’s bond is overwhelming and yet so natural bringing one to feel motherhood in you – no matter what gender or marital status you may have. Capturing a true story to bring out a real social transformation makes this film powerful. Its true power will be unleashed when one day we humans will not ask for a box tick on Male, Female or LGBT on the one hand … and on the other each one of us extends our hands for that healing touch of care. The only improvement I could think of was a better match for Gayatri’s voice to suit her age,” opined Charulata.


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Raghvendra Shikhrani is a journalist by profession and dog lover by passion. Hail from blue blood of a small village in Rajasthan. Family is the priority and community is the responsibility, thus smartly managing the balance between both.

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