Dhannya Sojan's positive vigour has hearts, turns poster girl for India’s brides-to-be
In a video that is going viral on social media for the past few days, with 1.3 million views and still soaring, Dhannya Sojan's smile is as radiant as the diamond set that adorned her elegant white bridal gown. The 21-year-old Dhannya from Kochi, a student in Canada till recently also aspired to be a model but when she was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure (her heart worked at only 20% of its capacity) she felt all her dreams being shattered.
While scrolling through her Instagram feed, an ad for a bridal wear campaign from Malabar Gold and Diamonds caught her attention while she was recuperating back home at Thodupuzha near Kochi after several nerve-wracking months in the hospital in Toronto.
This was nothing but a spontaneous reaction from her inner self due to her immense love for photoshoots and modelling. But to her surprise, the Malabar group approached her asking whether she could be a ‘bride of India’ in their ads.
The video of the shoot and the story of her fight against her disease were featured on Instagram with the title ‘A very special Bride of India’ and received an overwhelming response, with many celebrities including Kareena Kapoor and Tamannaah Bhatia sharing it.
Dhannya's innocent smile, positivity and courage to battle a disease, which is rare among young girls like her, are becom are becoming an inspiration for many. “It's so beautiful to see these pure and real emotions. Meet Dhannya, a very special bride of India! Love how @malabargoldanddiamonds made her dream come true and captured special moments from her big day,” wrote Kareena Kapoor.
In the words of Augustine, Dhannya’s little brother, "she jumped with joy and danced" when she got call regarding the ad. Without a second thought, Dhannya agreed. A photoshoot was organized in Kochi on August 20 for Dhannya who dressed up as a Christian bride wearing all the beautiful jewellery she had dreamt of. Her elder sister Divya too featured in the ad as a bridesmaid.
Dhannya is the third child of Sojan Joseph, who runs a milk collection booth in Thodupuzha, and his wife Shanty Sojan. After completing her schooling with excellent records in academics, arts and sports, Dhannya finally managed to fly to Canada for higher education braving all the financial challenges the family faced so that she could chase her dream of pursuing a career abroad. While studying a 2-year post-secondary diploma course, she worked parttime too and everything went as planned until she was diagnosed with the disease.
Her father Sojan was unable to go to her daughter as Dhannya’s mother Shanty was admitted to a hospital here after being diagnosed with cancer at that time. Though all her her family members asked her to drop everything and return, Dhannya decided to fight. With the support of the hospital and college authorities she wrote her third semester exam from the hospital. As she was so weak physically, she had to complete her course from a nursing home with the support of Malayalis in Toronto.
It was during her hospital days, she became active on social media. Her posts and Instagram reels from hospitals started getting noted after her video of dance cover of Neeraj Madhav ’s First Love Song became viral -- she sat on a hospital bed and danced. Later on, many celebrities like Mohanlal, Joy Mathew, Nivin Pauly and Vinay Fort wished her to get well soon via social media thus giving her more than 18000 followers.
Sojan said that the ad shoot for Malabar Group was a huge respite for his daughter who was depressed due to her ailment. “We are so grateful to Malabar Group because my daughter is very active and energetic after a long time. It’s all God’s grace,” he said. MP Ahammed, chairman, Malabar Group, said that Dhannya’s story is reaching more and more people every day and they are glad they could put a smile on her face. “When she expressed on social media that she was inspired by our Brides of India wedding anthem and that she would like to wear ornaments and do a photoshoot, we thought we should do whatever we can on our part to facilitate the same. In our own small way, we wanted to support her and and make her wish come true,” he said. Malabar Group arranged her travel to Port Muziris Hotel in Kochi where the ad was shot. She used modern jewellery with fancy cut diamonds from Malabar's Allure Collection. Vipin Nair, marketing head of Malabar Group, said that they arranged the entire shot considering the health condition of Dhannya. Dhannya chose celebrity makeup artist Samson Lei, her favourite, for her makeup. “She had a say in each of the shooting aspects including dress and jewellery. We just wanted her to be comfortable,” Vipin Nair said.
“Truly, I have no words to express my happiness and gratitude. They put a real smile on my face though I had become teary many times during the shoot. It is my life’s most memorable occasion and I thank God for holding my hand even while I am struggling to stay alive,” said Dhannya, who wishes to return to Canada after getting well soon.