Part of the Bold is Beautiful series, Anouk's latest short film deals with the issue of pregnancy-based discrimination at the workplace.
Hema, Rekha, Jaya and Sushma do not want to wash clothes for the family and promote detergents any longer. Their priorities have changed. They have joined the workforce and walk shoulder to shoulder with their male colleagues. And, they want to be treated in the same way their male colleagues are. But alas! Gender bias gets in the way.
While ads earlier portrayed the stereotypical housewife whose ultimate achievement was to have rubbed clothes and utensils sparkling clean, ads today have cashed in on the changing trend of women stepping outdoors to prove their worth as professionals, who are as competent as their male counterparts.
And, this is exactly what a recent film from the stables of Anouk, a Myntra brand, has shown. The two-minute digital short film titled The Calling, which has been on air since December 4, is the fourth offering in the Bold Is Beautiful series. It deals with the issue of gender discrimination at the workplace.
Anouk adds yet another dimension to the campaign this time by creating a film which focusses on gender bias at the workplace.
Aggarwal further says, "Our approach towards all films in the Bold is Beautiful series has been to create a topical film which will appeal to the modern Indian woman as Anouk as a brand caters to the contemporary Indian woman. We zeroed in on this theme after gathering relevant information through our consumer research, which showed the prevalent trends towards pregnant women at the workplace. The film is about women who stand up and make a bold choice about the life they want to lead."
Expressing his views about the film, Shamik Sengupta, script writer and director, Hectic Content, adds, "We decided on the theme of pregnancy-based discrimination at the workplace after having brainstormed over several other ideas. It took us three months to work on this brief. We wanted to show a social issue that would be relatable to the urban, contemporary Indian woman. Maternity affects a woman's career and our qualitative research showed women often face this issue when pregnant."
Commenting about the challenges encountered while shooting the film, he points out, "Selling a narrative by depicting real-life situations and trying to cast all actors in their specific roles even while shooting inside a car in a city like Mumbai were the technical challenges we faced."
Shaheen is successful yet frustrated; which is why she decides to start a firm of her own. The fact that she does not embrace society's definition and expectation of a pregnant, working woman who must sit back at home and kiss her career goodbye, is what the film has tried to delve upon.
Continuing further, she adds, "The Calling is my personal favourite of the lot and I believe it's something that most expectant working mothers would have gone through; something which would have limited them or made them compromise, because whatever said and done, we still live in a patriarchal society. This ad will definitely tug at more chords than the earlier ones."
On the other hand, Rahul Nangia, joint national creative director, L&K Saatchi & Saatchi, finds the subject to be an interesting one though the execution does not appeal much to him. Commenting on the same, Nangia opines, "The direction looks staged and the conversation is not as effortless as it could have been even though the subject is interesting."
Commenting on the film, Arun Sharma, executive planning director, Hakuhodo Percept , says, "In its evolution of the subjects, Anouk as a brand has kept something constant, and that's ‘the independent woman’ theme. I see this as a continuum of their past stories; independence from someone else’s earning, independence from the cultural acceptance of only heterosexual relationships, independence from the concept of ‘father and mother as parents’ versus ’single parenthood’. The resonance with working women is likely to be higher for this one because of two things done well – first, the plot around pregnancy and the reality of awkwardness faced by every working woman and second is the choice of the protagonist as Radhika Apte. This combination makes this story more memorable than the rest."