The reasons behind the creation of the viral video ‘Riso Woman’ 

Let me start with a Thank You, to all of you who support Voice Of Ram.

If a video like ‘Riso Woman’ has been viewed by 6.5 million people and shared by over 45000 people on Facebook, it is because of The VORlunteer Network and those who support this page here.

I am aware that you are my greatest supporters (when I do something right) and my fiercest critic (when I say something wrong). If you see it from my point of view, it’s like being in a relationship with a large family that wants to know my every move… I like it and I won’t have it any other way.

The past few days, quite a lot of you have written to me voicing your concerns about the ‘Riso Woman’ video. Some of you felt that I portrayed Indian women as backward (since she was wearing Indian clothes and a bindi in a foreign land).  Some of you found it to be strange that she was carrying a heavy backpack everywhere. It was quite surprising how so many of you had similar concerns, just worded differently. I personally responded to some emails but the volume of mails and the repetitive task of writing the same argument is why I decided to present my reason to you here as an article.

Riso Woman

Voice Of Ram made this powerful viral video for Riso Oil. 1.5 million people have seen it already!

Posted by Voice Of Ram on 15 जुलै 2017

The Riso Woman video that has gone viral with over 7 million views and over 40k shares


Here are some of your questions and my answers to them.

1)    “Why is ‘Riso Woman’ wearing Indian clothes and a bindi? You are showing Indian women as backward housewives. Why can’t she be in modern clothes?”

I find this question a bit strange because there is nothing wrong with Indian clothes and women who wear Indian salwar suits are not backward. I modelled ‘Riso Woman’ to resemble my sister who dresses in a similar fashion when she goes out of the country.

She does not differentiate between jeans, sari or a salwar suit… Her choice of garment is based on comfort and weather. Riso Woman’s bindi, is her way of saying she is comfortable with her traditional style, her way of asserting her confidence in a subtle manner.

{Also, at what point in our history did Indian garments become ‘not-modern’ or ‘conservative’? It’s stupid to think that western clothes are modern and Indian clothes are not. I find that kind of thinking to be backward and insulting to people who exercise an informed choice.}

2)    “Why is she carrying a big backpack everywhere?”

 I wanted to show ‘Riso Woman’ as a woman who is fiercely independent and strong enough to carry her own heavy luggage. I envisioned her as a married lady who carries her responsibilities without an expression of discomfort or pain. She is not a damsel in distress, she is resourceful, capable of finding joy even when she is strapped with 18 kilos of burden.

3)    “Why is she alone? Doesn’t she have any friends? Why wasn’t she partying?”

It was my conscious decision to not show her “partying” or hanging out with “international friends”. Apart from selling the product, I wanted the film to result in a social change. I would love to see more married Indian women breaking out of the shackles of dependency.

India is home the highest number of overqualified housewives who bury their ambition and dreams to take care of a family. Most of them are dependent on their husbands for money and their in-laws to tell them right from wrong.

For a married, financially dependent woman to travel alone, she will unfortunately need the permission of her husband (the quintessential ‘jealous guy’) and his parents. Imagine them watching a film about a married woman who is having a good time, laughing, sipping a glass of red, with a bunch of white man.

We have a long way to go when it comes to women empowerment in this country. I thought it was better to take one small, yet definitive, step ahead instead of a giant blind leap that might backfire.

-Ram Subramanian
(Riso Woman is a collaborative creation of Underdog and Voice Of Ram)

Ram Subramanian

Voice Of Ram is the personal blog of Ram Subramanian. Click on the red bell icon to get updated on his posts. You can follow his views on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.


  1. Well done voice of Ram. I agree it’s not the clothes that make one backward — what is backward is a mindset that cannot look beyond clothes.

  2. Lovely video and most sensible views i have come across in recent times about today’s Indian women. Rightly said western clothes and partying really do not make anyone modern. Thinking minds and feeling alive is all that matters

  3. Every woman deserves a break that she wants. But what matters is,whether she really gets that. N mostly even if she does, is she ready to leave her family, children, home…etc just to give time to herself.
    Sir u have beautifully portrayed a woman’s inner desire. Thank you for waking us up about what we want

  4. Beautiful I live out of India for the past twenty years, i still wear Bindi and i work
    I wear salwar mostly because of comfort
    Its not that i am backward or not modern.
    Its about how your mindset.
    Well said Ram