Whenever women are talked about in the context of driving, they had been shown as atrocious drivers, a category that cannot be relied upon. But the realization seems to have dawned upon the marketing wizards that they need to factor in this category if they have to increase their client base. Even otherwise it is a category that is expanding fast enough and world of advertisement and cinema had to graduate to shift the woman companion from sitting into the adjoining seat along with the driver to driving it.
It's most visible manifestation was found in RA.ONE, where Kareena Kapoor was shown driving the car along the streets of London with great finesse, though there might have been an element of simulation associated with it.
However the first long drive by a female actor in the recent memory was that done by Priyanka Chopra in ANJAANA ANJAANI though the film world returned again to the cliched view about a lady driver in ZINDAGI NA MILEGI DOBARA where Kalki Koechlin driving the car in Spain was showing maneuvering the steering in a rather non-suave manner. It was inspite of the fact that it was a Zoya Akhtar who had directed the film.
As a matter of fact in the world of cinema the girl belonging to the super rich category was shown driving those long humungous cars, mostly around the time when they were introduced to the silver screen in a cinema. But the graduation to hold the steering for a longer time frame is a recent import. One needs to congratulate Shah Rukh Khan for the same, as inspite of having a brand value he agreed to hand over steering to his female counterpart in the latest advertisement of the Santro cars that he endorses.
But a more practical and sensible approach was shown in the commercial of the Chevrolet Beat, where a lady doctor was shown relying on her car to reach her brother to tie the Rakhee and come back to attend to her calls.
Another subtle notion of empowerment projected through the world of advertisement that has not been talked about so far by the critics and the media observers is that pertaining to the latest advertisement campaign of Nirma where a group of male is seen showing helplessness about a car getting stuck in mud, but the group of women brace themselves and venture into mud to push the car out. As a copy of an advertisement it may be nuanced, but as a message of changing social dynamics it is powerful, as it underlines the fact that women are not at all behind male in any form of work that can be done.
May more such creative efforts bloom, so that the gender empowerment could get a much needed shot in the arm through such interventions and drive home a powerful point for the general public with conviction.