At Campaign India, since 2014 we have been running a series of ad reviews spearheaded by Dr AL Sharada, director, Population First. Dr Sharada reviews films through a gender lens and provides a gender sensitivity score (GSS) for each. The sole idea of this is to end stereotypical gender portrayal in Indian advertising.
While we have seen some changes during these eight years, we all know the advertising industry still has a long way to go to end this portrayal. Kudos to the likes of Ariel (and BBDO) for keeping the fight on for #ShareTheLoad, the latest of which was an open letter in April this year. The letter was addressed to advertisers, media partners and content creators, as it urged them to focus on the way women were portrayed in advertising.
Seems like that’s been missed by the creators of the Fairplay commercial.
The film caught my attention during the ongoing England vs South Africa series on Sony Pictures Network. It features actors Shraddha Kapoor and Varun Dhawan. Kapoor picks ‘Rahul’ in her team because he’s ‘too cute’. Dhawan points out that teams aren’t selected based on cuteness. The aforementioned ‘Rahul’ fails in the match and Dhawan pokes fun at Kapoor’s selection. The message the film aims to spread is that one needs skill to play on portals/apps such as Fairplay and not luck.
Earlier this year, ASCI reportedly was looking into 14 films as they reportedly violated their violations. Two of them were from Fairplay. ASCI’s release was dated 12 April. The Fairplay film was dated 29 April, so it’s probably not the film in question.
But the problem here isn’t the ASCI violation. It’s the portrayal of Kapoor in the film. There’s no problem in Kapoor claiming ‘Rahul’ was cute. But to state that it was her sole reason for picking him in her fantasy team is inexcusable.
The industry has been talking about gender equality for way too long now. For us to achieve it, these are the kind of representations in films that need to end.
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