Television

Times Of India announces next leg of award winning #NoConditionsApply campaign, makes a national movement

Internationally acclaimed and the country's most lauded social campaign aims to extend its reach n

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MUMBAI: The Times of India has launched the second leg of its critically acclaimed campaign #NoConditionsApply Sindoor Khela that raises a pertinent question on inclusion during celebrations. Last year, the campaign was launched with a slam poetry video that pointed out the discrimination a woman goes through owing to her marital status, childbearing capability or sexual orientation.  What followed, was an all-inclusive Sindoor Khela that was hosted by TOI at one of the most prestigious pandals in Kolkata – Tridhara Sammilani – where all women participated in the social celebrations sans their societal tags of transgender, widow, separated, divorced, single mother, married and so on. This year, the campaign takes a step forward to urge the Puja Committees across the nation to take up the mantle and host #NoConditionsApply Sindoor Khela at their premises during the last day of Durga Puja. What started with a localized campaign in Kolkata set in one Puja Pandal, is all set to travel to several cities across the nation. 

The campaign is a part of TOI’s larger umbrella #NoConditionsApply (NCA) – which is a campaign that calls for gender equity and equal opportunities across ambition, education, celebrations by both the genders. NCA Sindoor Khela takes up the issue of inclusive celebration during festivals with a context to Durga Puja which itself is a celebration of femininity. The Double Dot of Sindoor is the sisterhood mnemonic that calls for treating all women equal as Sisters without societal labels, and has been carried forward from last year as modern-era ‘Symbol of Sisterhood’.

Last year, when the campaign was launched, it received a stupendous reaction from people who wanted to offer their support and be a part of the movement. The second leg of the campaign gives them the opportunity and encouragement to make that happen. TOI has launched a powerful video which is narrated by leading ladies from Kolkata: Rituparna Sengupta, Gargee Roychowdhury, Manobi Bandyopadhyay and Sohini Sengupta come together once again along with Imon Chakraborty and Sudeshna Roy and invite women to #BringaSisterAlong this Pujo. The short video is based during the days leading up to Pujo where we see women from different walks of life: a banker, a sex worker, a cancer survivor, a transgender and an unlikely but heartwarming friendship between a woman and her ex mother-in-law. Through shared stories that intertwine their struggle and survival, the campaign talks about women empowering women and standing with each other with a call to inclusion. 

The Double Dot Sindoor – is the symbol of modern day sisterhood – that stands out in the monochromatic video that is backed by powerful beats of the Durga Puja drums (dhaak), bound to leave you stirred. With this edition, TOI aims to extend the campaign by reaching out to pandals across the nation; encouraging readers to host an inclusive Sindoor Khela and “Bring a Sister Along”. The campaign urges everyone to celebrate an inclusive Sindoor Khela where everyone is invited and feel included, and discard the tags of transgender, widow, lesbian, divorcee, separated, married and so on. TOI is also encouraging readers to share stories and pictures of their inclusive celebrations, which can be shared via social media. Committees interested in being a part of the movement can reach out on 9326819922 via calls or whatsapp. This year, as the campaign goes national, over 50 of the most prominent pandals across India have pledged to host an all-inclusive Sindoor Khela, and this number keeps going up with every passing hour. 

Commenting on the launch, Sanjeev Bhargava, Director, Brand TOI, said, “The Sindoor Khela #NoConditionsApply initiative launched last year was a resounding success. True to our brand philosophy, we were able to seed a positive change in the age old tradition of exclusion of the marginalised women in our society. This year we want this initiative to gather the momentum of a movement. This year more and more Pujo committees are requested to throw open their doors to all marginalised sections of women in our society and women are encouraged to bring a sister along. A sister that has thus far been excluded from the wonderful celebration of Sindoor Khela. The Times of India continues to provide thought leadership on hundreds of issues that need redressal and continues to live up to its brand promise of ‘Change Begins Here’.”

Speaking about the launch of the next leg of the campaign, Swati Bhattacharya Chief Creative Officer, FCB Ulka India said, "Following the massive success of the launch and initiation of #NoConditionsApply campaign last year, we are proud to take it up a notch this year and extend the reach of the thought beyond Kolkata and to many more cities across the nation. Together with TOI, the aim this year is to bring the entire nation together and echo the same message #BringASisterAlong, and celebrate an all-inclusive Sindoor Khela. We look forward to another successful run and hope that this year we are able to unite the entire nation to celebrate the power of womanhood."

The initiative has brought about a wave a change in the way festivals are celebrated in the country. Critically acclaimed actor, Rituparna Sengupta commented on the success of the campaign saying, “I am really happy to be a part of this wonderful campaign especially since I feel very strongly about the cause. All credit to Times of India for coming up with such a great idea and giving us an opportunity to bring about a change. I hope that people will support us in this initiative and help us take it to the next stage, to numerous Pandals across. It fills me with pride that I was able to be a part of something like this, I would love to extend my support in any way possible in making this a Global Movement.”

The first edition kick-started with a heartwarming slam poetry titled “Sindoor Khela: #NoConditionsApply”, narrating stories sharing the perspective of women who have been sidelined by society and find themselves unwelcome to the festivities of Durga Puja. The video struck such a chord with the masses that it crossed 6 mn views with a 20 MN campaign reach across social media. Following which, one of the most revered Durga Pujo organizers in Kolkata, Tridhara Sammilani was brought on board to host an all-inclusive Sindoor Khela - a custom that is traditionally reserved for married women - by inviting widows, single mothers, sex workers, LGBTQ folks and anyone who might be considered as an outsider to join them in celebration.

This celebration of women from all walks of life resonated with millions across the world including personalities from the Indian Film Fraternity like Bipasha Basu, Taapsee Pannu, national award winner Srijit Mukherji, music maestro Shekhar Ravjiani among many others. The effort was also lent support by luminaries like Vidya Balan and LGBT activist Laxmi Narayan Tripathi.

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