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Deconstructing Creativity: ‘6 Pack Band’ by Mindshare Mumbai

Mindshare Mumbai recently answered a few questions in this adobo exclusive on their award-winning campaign ‘6 Pack Band’ for Brooke Bond Red Label Tea.

  1. With the increasing acceptance and legalization of the third sex in India, why was it necessary to create the 6 Pack Band?

Legalization is just one aspect, societal acceptance by society is the main issue. Today the Transgender community has to fight for every small thing. We are seeing instances where they have got a job as a school principal or in the police force, but they are very few and far between.


What is needed is acceptance at scale. Music plays a very important role in our lives. On every social occasion be it with family, festival or friends, music is very much a part of the occasion. Music has the power to straddle socio-economic classes, geographies, and cultures. India has a very rich culture of music. We love and accept those who entertain us. For the Transgender to be truly accepted, we wanted them to be part of the entertainment (music) world.


  1. Why were “hijras” primarily considered for the band?

Brooke Bond Red Label Tea is positioned as the “Tea that brings people together.” This is beautifully encapsulated in the promise, “Taste of Togetherness.” It promises that the world could be a more welcoming place if one could put aside one’s prejudices and accept others in the spirit of friendship/brotherhood. Our task was to make the “Togetherness” promise come alive in a way that it affects society.

For generations, we, the ‘normal’ people, have been conditioned to believe that the Transgender is ‘different’ and cannot be part of our lives. This was the very thinking that we wanted to break. Hence we considered Transgenders for the band.

  1. How was the 6 Pack Band formed? (were there auditions or referrals?)

Y Films, our Content Partners, have interesting stories to tell us about “casting.” It was a big challenge as the Transgender are ‘invisible people;’ they disappear suddenly. We looked across cities such as Mumbai, Surat, Indore. and Chandigarh. The six month-long “hunt” for the band members included both informal efforts – the team looked for the right faces at traffic signals, in trains, in slums – and structured methods such as auditions and talks with pro-LGBT NGOs (like Humsafar Trust) and people who’ve worked on books and documentaries on this subject.


  1. Hijras or transgendered people were viewed as social outcasts, except on the occasions they are called upon to sing and give blessings–and “Happy” seems like an apt choice for their most popular video. Can you please shed some light on the (side) commentary (or additional lyrics) in the video? Were they from the creatives or the 6 Pack Band members themselves?

As part of the team we had a music director and lyricist who wrote the additional lyrics. The “Happy” song reflected who they really are. Despite the ill treatment meted out to them, they find ways to live their lives, to survive despite ostracization from society, to just be….. ‘happy.’


The chorus very beautifully captures their spirit. It is really heartwarming to see the spirt and drive that has been encapsulated in the words.


Because I’m happy

Be happy… sing, dance, come and clap along

Because I’m happy

Be happy…. Shake it now…. Life can’t hold you down

Because I’m happy

Be happy…. The world isn’t going to cry with you

Because I’m happy

Be happy…. Shake it now…. Let’s all clap along

  1. Apart from ostracism, what other issues do hijras currently face? Did these pose a problem/hindrance during the production process – or served as fuel for the mission (to create a more positive perception of hijras or the third sex)?

What can be worse than ostracism? Their families have disowned them. They don’t have proper housing, no education. Children are afraid of them. They are forced to beg or get into the sex trade. The issues are countless.


Of course there were problems with shooting. The band members have had no training, no experience. We placed them in front of a camera and made them sing and dance. Imagine the complexity of emotions – fear, apprehension, joy, intimidation, uncertainty.


They appeared with Bollywood’s superstars Hritik Roshan, Arjun Kapoor, Salman Khan, Shahrukh Khan and Sonu Nigam. At any other time, it would have been a ‘life-altering’ proposition an ‘impossible dream’ but put a mic in front of them and camera on them and everything changes. However, they rose to the occasion and delivered the best they could.


  1. Throughout the videos, the band members are always portrayed in a dignified, respectful manner, which is a refreshing change. Was this conscious decision agreed upon from the beginning, or was it a point that was reached after some shooting/review?

Our objective was to drive acceptance for this community. Acceptance comes with respect and a sense of friendship. To quote Aditya Chopra, head of Yash Raj Fims, “Make sure we do not caricaturize these guys. We do not want ‘pity views.'”


Unfortunately, whenever Bollywood has used them, they have been a topic of ridicule, someone to provide comic relief in the movie. That was the one thing we stood against. There was no discussion, no debate. Every single person associated with the project wanted them to have the utmost respect and be treated with the utmost cordiality.


  1. Apart from creating a positive (better) image for the Indian transgender community and initiating reconciliations among estranged family members, are there other unforeseen blessings or good outcomes from the project?

This project is just about six months old. It was never about image, it was to provide a solution, a platform to the Transgender issue. The fact that it has gained international recognition is the icing on the cake.


Closer to home, the Bollywood brigade rallied around and lent their support. We did not expect the Indian public to be so generous with their support and appreciation.


The first steps are taken and, to sound, clichéd, the ‘sky is the limit.’

  1. Does the Grand Prix win at Cannes affirm the values and aspirations of the project?

Yes. But more than that, it has given the project worldwide acceptance. It has brought the issue out of the “Indian Closet” and for us, it has given us the courage and confidence to do more projects. Projects that give our brands stature and grow relevance. Projects with a purpose. 

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