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'Fair and Lovely' gets 1st Duryodhan award in TV ad category

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It's not quite the Razzies that "celebrates" Hollywood's worst but the Maharashtra State Commission for Women (MSCW) offered its own "roll of dishonour" at an award ceremony in Mumbai yesterday.

Hindustan Levers' advertisement for its fairness cream 'Fair and Lovely' was adjudged the most gender-insensitive and bagged the distinction of being the first ever recipient of the Duryodhan Award in the television ad category. The Amitabh Bachchan starrer Aks and Govinda's Amdani Atthani Kharcha Rupaiya bagged the Rakshasa and Duryodhana Awards, being the most violent and gender-insensitive films, respectively.

The winners were chosen by a jury comprising advocate Indira Jaisingh (chairperson), vice-chancellor of SNDT Women's university Roopa Shah, filmmaker Kavita Chaudhary and Mumbai commissioner of police MN Singh.

Announcing the final awards, Jaisingh was quoted as saying "The Fair and Lovely" advertisement suffered from a colour complex (naturally one would think since it extols the virtues of a fairness cream). Jaisingh said such ads propagate the myth that a woman has to be beautiful in order to be successful or find a suitable match.

"If using fairness creams could help us in securing jobs, there would be a mad rush for these creams and unemployment in the country would soon be over," she said.

The awards were part of the MSCW's Foundation Day celebrations.

Amdani... reportedly "won" because it used crude humour to imply that women were meant to be kicked around. The film also preached chauvinism and implied that a man felt threatened by an independent woman.

MSCW instituted the awards to highlight the problems associated with the stereotyping of women in films, commodification of their bodies and glorification of violence and crime in the media.

There was a positive note to the proceedings though. A special jury award to the critically-acclaimed film Chandni Bar for its sensitive portrayal of the lives of bar dancers.

 

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