#GoodNews: Polio Survivor May Be First Differently-Abled TV Model
A shot of Mahalakshmi  Mahadev from the advertisement.
A shot of Mahalakshmi Mahadev from the advertisement.(Photo: Facebook/Mahalakshmi Minchu)

#GoodNews: Polio Survivor May Be First Differently-Abled TV Model

Mahalakshmi Mahadev, 26, could possibly be India's first differently-abled TV model. The Bengaluru-based woman breaks the mould by featuring in a 44-second advertisement for a textile brand, according to a story by NDTV.

In the advertisement, we see Mahalakshmi standing in the first shot, it is obvious that she is a polio-survivor only towards the end of the ad, when she is placed back in her wheelchair.

Mahadev, a Bachelor of Technology graduate recounts her experience during a 13-hour-long shoot in Chennai and tells NDTV

I was nervous at first, but now I’m so happy. Differently-abled can do anything. If they dream, they can achieve it. It’s important our advertisements turn inclusive.

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Mahadev's modelling dreams became a reality when she met Chennai-based designer Shalini Visakan, who specialises in adaptive clothing for the differently-abled. Visakan Rajendiran, the husband of the designer, was also keen to feature a differently-abled model for their clothing line.

No one was coming forward to feature a differently-abled person as a model. We did not want to sit and complain about it. So we did one for our own brand,
Shalini Visakan tells NDTV

Jerald Dinesh, the cinematographer and Suresh Menon, the make-up expert for the advertisement both offered their services for free.

It was an interesting concept. Mahalakshmi was very cooperative. None would have known she’s differently-abled. But we showed her on a wheelchair at the end to motivate others
Jerald Dinesh, cinematographer

The team said they felt encouraged by all the positive response on the advertisement on social media. Dinesh added that they are ready to make advertisements for anyone with differently-abled models, and could even change the advertising industry.

(Inputs from NDTV)

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