Saturday, April 04, 2015

Abhor the message, not the messenger

Now-a-days, filming, releasing and sharing 2 minute videos have been a trend – an instant means to increase your “klout” in the social media. Almost everyone is following the trend, which means we have some amazing videos, some boring ones and some that we outright reject. Some of the common responses to such a video would be – 
  • Awww, that’s so cute (almost tears moment)
  • Wow, I didn’t see that coming (a typical what-he-does-next-will-shock-you video)
  • What the hell! Who does such a thing?

The reaction is usually the first two for most of these videos. However, one video was released recently that made most of the Indians go “what the hell!” And for rightful reasons, I might add.
Vogue released a video which they thought would stir the ocean and force people to think and eventually empower women. It achieved its objective, albeit for altogether different reasons! It did stir the ocean; it surely forced the people to think and it empowered women to completely abhor the message propagated by the video. Hey, ends justify the means, right?

Deepika Padukone - #MyChoice video with Vogue Empower screengrab

When I clicked on the play button, I saw Deepika Padukone describing what “choice” means to a woman. The dialogue writing seemed apt and I began appreciating the video till it came to a woman’s sexual choices / lack of it. I honestly didn’t understand the logic behind the statements the first time and I thought of seeing the video again (that’s my part in making this video cross 3 million viewership). Deepika actually said “having sex before marriage is her choice, having sex outside of marriage is her choice”. While I am no one to judge any person’s choice, doing anything against the law of the land is a choice, but a bad one in the end. Social media decided to act against the video and they have done a good job. Parents are happy their children hate that video. Husbands are happy their wife cannot relate with the video. Kids are happy because umm… well… its vacation time!

For the record, I don't agree completely with the video and its message.

Throughout all the rebuttals, some chose to rebut and, unfortunately, despise the actor who was representing “all of womanhood” in the video. Yes, the video messed up. The characters in the video probably didn’t think of the message the way it was eventually portrayed. I would like to believe that the concept of the video had its heart in its right place – women having the right to make their own choices in a largely male-dominated society. It’s just that the examples shown in the video went against our own ethos, are illegal and something that a right-minded person would never choose. The actors (including the lead actor – Deepika Padukone) probably decided to do this project with a different thought-process and the end product was totally different. Haven’t we seen this in movies too? Actors play certain roles which they think will be portrayed in a certain way and the end result is a total disconnect with the public. It works sometimes and messes up on occasions. Despising the actors for this is totally unwarranted. After all, the same Deepika Padukone recently had an interview discussing the perils of depression and how she came out of it, which was largely motivating and well received by the same audience. Just like adultery is against our ethos, despising someone (let alone a lady) for a choice s/he made is also against our upbringing. It was her choice to do this video and she will live with the repercussions. Personally, I would like to think of this video as a branding exercise for Vogue that went terribly wrong. And they now have to do some serious re-branding to get back in their target audiences’ mind. 

Despise the message. Don’t despise the messenger, Deepika Padukone in this case. It’s my choice. And I will live with it.

1 comment:

  1. Just read this post of yours.
    And completely agree with your thoughts on it.


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