Thursday, March 5, 2009, saw a media event and an awards show with a difference in Mumbai – the Real Heroes Awards by CNN-IBN, in partnership with Reliance Industries. And what better venue than the Trident Oberoi, where hope floated amid the 26/11 terror attacks, when the hotel’s employees risked their lives to get their guests to safety.
Rajdeep Sardesai, Editor-in-Chief, CNN-IBN and IBN7 Network, well encapsulated the spirit of the Awards when he said, “Media is accused of not recognising and rewarding real, unsung heroes, but rewarding well known achievers. But Real Heroes by CNN-IBN and Reliance is a felicitation that recognises the triumph of human spirit.”
Rajdeep Sardesai,Padam Shri and winner of impact Person of the year 2007(an exchange4media initiative) echoed a sentiment that the Real Heros awards by CNN IBN and Reliance were different and not like other media awards.
In its second year, Real Heroes honoured the real life heroes in our society who have worked selflessly to make a difference and serve the society in their own inimitable way, thereby inspiring others to do similar deeds.
This year, Aamir Khan, Yash Chopra, Krishnamachari Srikanth and Mukesh Dhirubhai Ambani gave away the Real Heroes Awards to 24 Real Heroes across diverse fields such as Women’s Welfare, Social Welfare, Healthcare, Education and Children, Environment, Rural Development, Youth, and Sports.
Started as a CSR initiative by Nita Ambani and Reliance Industries, along with CNN-IBN, Real Heroes has brought tears, passion and human good to the fore.
As Yash Chopra said after giving away the Awards that the winners were passionate, hardworking, sincere, selfless, and confident, and that he would love to some day tell their story in his movies.
Nita Ambani in her opening address shared her passion for eye donation and giving back to the society and country.
Krishnamachari Srikanth, former India cricket captain, commentator, and now Chairman of Selectors, said that these Real Heroes were selflessly working without any accolades or support, unlike the Indian cricketers who got so much publicity for anything and everything they did.
The evening’s final awardee was Ila Bhatt, winner of the Magsasay Award and founder of SEWA, who was given the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Sameer Manchanda, Joint MD of IBN7 Network, thanked Mukesh and Nita Ambani for partnering with CNN-IBN on such a ‘real’ initiative, which was inspiring.
While giving away the Awards, Mukesh Ambani said, “Real Heroes is not about TRPs, it’s about hope, about goodness of human beings, and about healing the hurt.”
The Real Heroes Awards function concluded with Dilip Venkatraman, CMO, IBN7 Network, and COO IBN Focus, delivering a vote of thanks.
Real Heroes is symptomatic of two trends – one, more and more advertiser-funded and anchored collaborative initiatives, something like co-owned events akin to marketer-owned Internet sites, and second, media undertaking initiatives where winners and achievers who are on the cusp of being discovered are felicitated.