Watch: This ad normalises trans parenting through the story of a mother and adopted child
The ad explains why anyone can be a good mother, irrespective of the gender they choose to identify with.
The latest ad by Vicks India breaks rigid societal notions of motherhood and womanhood by portraying a trans woman and her relationship with her adopted daughter in a beautiful and sensitive manner. The ad follows the true life story of a girl called Gayatri, whose mother sends her to boarding school because she wants her to become a doctor. It also makes a point about the lack of basic rights for transsexual persons.
The ad is told through the eyes of a young girl in a bus, who is on her way to boarding school. Most of the shots focus on the expressions of the child actor who has done a marvelous job. At the beginning, the child mentions that her mother will be disappointed because she does not want to be a doctor.
She tells us that her mother is a self-made woman, and that she was thrown out of her house by her father at the age of 18. The child has never met her father, and tells us that her birth mother would frequently fall sick. You can tell just how much the adoptive mother has invested through lines like, "She didn't even let me stay back [at home] for even a day. Mummy bhi na!"
There's a particularly poignant scene where the child describes the day when her birth mother was taken away by people in an ambulance, after which she never saw her again. The sight of the child actor crying is heart-breaking. But the best part of the video is when the adoptive parent meets the child for the first time. She describes how lovingly this mother embraced her and took her home.
The adoptive mother buys her a new red dress, nurses her all night when she falls sick and makes her favourite food on Sundays. "Darr lagta hai, par Mummy hoti hai toh nahi lagta," she says. Basically, this mother does all the things that you would expect a "good" mother to do. The twist the ad employs is the mother is a trans woman, but it does not focus on this aspect or present it as different, which is what makes it so effective.
The line, "Civics book mein likha hai ki sabke liye basic rights same hote hai. Phir Mummy ko kyun nahi hai?" hits home, and is followed by a shot of the mother turning away and wiping her tears. It is followed by a line that is even more touching: "Isiliye mai main doctor nahi, lawyer banungi, meri mummy ke liye," Gayatri says.
Watch the ad here: