Exclusive: Motherhood is beyond Gender, says Indian Transgender Activist Gauri Sawant from Vicks Touch of Care ad

Vicks India " Touch of Care" Commercial

– By Naina Mishra

April 06, 2017: The Vicks India “Touch of Care “ advertisement is in the wake of transgender issues in the country. The advertisement showcased the real-life story of a Transgender mother who seems adept in raising her adopted child. The ad sets in motion by drawing attention towards the inseparable bond shared by a daughter with her mother. The ad unexpectedly transforms into a momentous ad leaving all the spectators filled with admiration in the end.


Gauri Sawant is a transgender who was raised in Pune. Ever since her childhood, she was inclined towards the feminine side within her. The journey of Gauri Sawant from Ganesh Suresh Sawant has been full of impediments but nothing seems to shrivel the spirit of the flawless transitional woman that she is now. At times, Gauri would often dress up secretly in her grandmother’s sari and apply makeup. As she grew up, things became a little tussle some for her. She started wearing Kurtas in college as it appeared a neutral dress code to her. Gauri’s family grew repulsive of her as she started dwelling a woman in her.

Gauri endeavored to build a respectable living for herself as she was always sure that she will never beg on the streets, earning a living for what her identity is. With the help of Humsafar Trust, she underwent her transition. She is now running an organization “Sakhi Char Chowgi” devoted to LGBT rights.

Gayatri is raising the 16-year-old girl child, who was left orphaned in 2001 after the demise of her mother, who was a sex worker and died of HIV.

I, Naina Mishra (reporter, Newsgram) spoke with Gauri Sawant featured in the Vicks India – Touch of care advertisement.

Still from Vicks India ” Touch of Care” advertisement

Motherhood is the purest form of love and sees no biological compulsions at all.

“Motherhood is like sugar in the water. Just like when the sugar dissolves into the water, it becomes inseparable. Similarly, a mother is a mother and is beyond any gender. Anyone can become a mother. It has nothing to do with femininity that only a woman can be a mother, the single parent can also be equally adept in becoming a mother.” Gauri Sawant defined Motherhood to Newsgram.


“My daughter has made me complete for what I have done to her. She has given me the opportunity to become her mother. It is my immense pleasure to be able to serve her. I learnt from my mother and it is in my bones whatever I have inherited from her. It is just like passing on from one generation to another.” – Gauri on becoming a mother.


Raising a child being a transgender is not easy in our society. To affirm the hard-hitting fact, Gauri states that-

 “People have a mindset that why should a transgender be a mother. The heterosexual society has the set of norms and stereotypes. It is painful for me also to come out of this cliché because every time you have to prove that you are a mother.” 


It is a blatant truth that the transgender community derives more or less no benefits from the government. 

“In 2014, I was the first person to file a petition to Supreme Court. Indian constitution says I am the citizen of India regardless of which I had to go to Supreme Court. It was so embarrassing for me. The government has to be sensitized towards the single parent.”

Outlook from the Brand Spokesperson-

Advertisements nowadays are not only entitled to the selling of the product but also serving as a compelling force in bringing social awareness about the societal issues to the viewers. The Vicks India – ‘Touch of Care’ advertisement is one such example that strived to bring forth the invincible issue in the country.  The Vicks Brand has stood for Family Care in India for over 50 years

Still from Vicks India ” Touch of Care” advertisement

To collect the perspective concerning with the ideology and thesis behind the campaign, Newsgram connected with the brand spokesperson of P&G. The responses were recorded by Mr. Nitin Darbari, Chairman, and CEO P&G Teva JV China, Marketing Director Asia, Middle East and Africa for P&G.

The ideology affirms the love of a mother for her child.

“In the film, Gauri is not looked at as a transgender but as an epitome of motherhood showing her love and care towards her daughter. The campaign shows how people who, though not connected by blood, end up being a family through care itself. The film resonates with the fast-paced lives of consumers where care goes beyond biological ties.”

The message of the advertisements has made an indelible imprint on the viewer’s mind.

“It celebrates a bond between people who are close to each other beyond biological ties. It strengthens family love and care in the context of Vicks and how Vicks which has taken care of families for generations can bring this to life in a contemporary way. We want consumers to recognize that everyone has a right to family and that wherever there is care, that bond is a family.”

Asked to share the work experience with Gauri Sawant, the team responds “The first thing that struck the team about Gauri was her charisma. Her warmth, intelligence, and humor were reflected in her conversations and in her work. And she kept us rapt with her stories between takes. In one word, unforgettable.”


Client: Vicks Agency: Publicis Singapore Chief creative officer: Ajay Thrivikraman Creative team: Jocelyn Chabanis and Eugene Pua Account management: Floriane Tripolino and Prachi Partagalkar Account planning: Ed Booty Production house: SeeOn  Director (film): Neeraj Ghaywan  Producer: Deepa Limaye Director of photography: Manoj Kumar Khatoi

The Scene of Transgender in India

Homosexuality is discerned as a Taboo in the present world. While the government frequently passes the verdicts in and against the favor of the dejected community, the society leaves no stone unturned in condemning the Transgender. Their lives are still condemned as “deviant behavior” and are shunned as unacceptable.

Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code is an iron fisted law in the country that criminalizes the sexual relations “against the law of nature”. In 2009, Delhi High Court de-criminalized the consensual homosexual acts, saying “the section denies a gay person a right to full parenthood”.

Homosexuality was recriminalized by the Supreme Court, saying “it was a matter of parliament to take a call on the desirability of contentious provision”.

In 2014, the verdict passed by Supreme Court of India marked a cornerstone in ascertaining the rights of Transgender. The transgender community was thus embossed with basic rights ( Right to Personal Liberty, dignity, Freedom of expression, Right to Education and Empowerment, Right against violence, Discrimination and exploitation and Right to work). The law permitted Transgender to live unreservedly and express their gender identity without any gender crisis. They are now referred as the ‘Third Gender’.

Emphasizing the need to bring them into the mainstream, it was believed that the third gender should have all rights under the law, including marriage, adoption, divorce, succession and inheritance.

Reported by Naina Mishra of Newsgram, Twitter: Nainamishr94