‘The Seatbelt Crew’ - A Transgender Community Encourages Seat Belt Safety In India, Video Gains Over 1.6M Views

Seatbelt Crew is a public service initiative video by VithU and O&M; Mumbai to encourage the use of seatbelts, where a group of hijras dressed as plane cabin crew enact the message.

A community of Transgenders or hijras called the ‘Seatbelt Crew’ are determined to get Indian motorists to wear their seat belts. Dressed as plane cabin crew, the transgender group have been filmed at a traffic signal giving safe driving tips and the importance of wearing seatbelts to waiting motorists.

The video which is part of a public service initiative by VithU and Ogilvy & Mather, Mumbai, has now gone viral. Uploaded on May 5, it has been viewed more than 1.6 million times in the last three days.

The two-minute video starts with a senior eunuch asking for attention through a loudspeaker at a traffic stop. The instructions begin accompanied by actions by the group, much to the amusement of the on looking motorists. The rest of the message is in Hindi with a touch of their typical style.

“May I have your attention please? If you are going to drive like a pilot, then you should know some things.

Your car doesn’t have an oxygen mask, under your seat belt you won’t find a life jacket. But you do have a seat belt. Then why aren’t you wearing it honey?

You want me to teach you?

Reach for your seat belt and pull the buckle across your body…like this, you should hear a click. Your pretty face won’t look good after an accident.

Hey naughty girl, tell your boyfriend to wear his seat belt. Hey sexy guy, stop filming me and wear your seat belt.

If you wear your seat belt, we’ll bless you.”

The hijra community in India, unlike in any other part of the world, is a much worshipped community. Newly weds and parents of newborns often seek their blessings for an auspicious beginning, as they are considered ‘sacred’ and also quite feared at times. But despite that, they have no source of employment and often resort to begging at traffic signals in return for blessings. A majority of them are hence considered a nuisance, especially when they come clapping their hands at traffic signals.

So, who better than them to communicate a safety belt drive at the most impactful location?

Besides, they are also leveraging social media to reach out to the online networked communities. Going by the Twitter handle @SeatbeltCrew, the community has managed to spread the video furiously through social connections and humourous tweets. In addition, they are also sharing the video with the Twitter celebrities of India and requesting them to share it too.

And, the reactions on Twitter:

Apart from creating a strong impact in terms of communication, the public service initiative also helps showcase the transgender community  as contributing members of the society, unlike the notion that they only beg and create a nuisance to the society. The Seatbelt Crew is a win-win road safety campaign, both in terms of concept and execution. An award is sure to come O&M’s way this year!