“Girls are against moustaches in today's world,” says Vikas Dubey. However, female disapproval didn't stop the 25-year-old finance professional from participating in Movember, the annual, month-long event that encourages men to grow their moustaches to raise awareness and funds for prostate cancer and associated charities. “The best thing is that it's fun for a good cause,” says Dubey, an active member of Movember India's Facebook page, which has 650 members and is growing in popularity. Dubey has raised Rs7,000 for charity and his group aims to raise Rs25,000 by the end of the month.
Since its modest start in Australia in 2003, the month-long, moustache-growing charity event has become an international phenomenon. The Movember Foundation has been listed as one of the top hundred NGOs in the world. Their slogan — “changing the face of men's health” — sums up their approach to tackling cancer awareness. Every November, regular men — many of them clean-shaven — turn into “Mo Bros”: walking, talking billboards for men's health issues with their luxurious, and often strange, moustaches.
The appeal of Movember might seem trivial, but close to two million people have participated in this hirsute pursuit since 2007 and raised more than $280 million towards prostate cancer research.
Farhad Chinigar's growth of a luxurious handlebar moustache has a personal angle. “My dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer a few years ago,” said the 28-year-old. “That added a lot of importance to Movember for me.” Chinigar loves the smiles he gets from strangers and friends alike for his charitable moustache. “I got a lot of comments on Twitter, like Rajinikanth jokes or comments saying 'Anna rascala!'” he laughed. “But it's all good fun. I'm promoting a good cause without preaching at people.”
Immensely popular in the USA, UK and in Canada, Movember is steadily picking up popularity in India via social networking sites. For Craig Fonseca, 25, it's the first time he's grown a moustache and he's enjoying the attention that comes with his facial growth. “I would have gone wackier than this, since I always have the excuse of it being for a good cause, but my hair growth levels didn't allow it,” he said.
Rahul Karthikeyan, 28, modelled his moustache after Saif Ali Khan's look in the film Tashan. “My salon guy said it would look good,” said Karthikeyan. “All my guy friends think it looks great.” And his female ones? “Not hot,” is their response but Karthikeyan doesn't mind. “It's for a good cause, so I feel good about it. And Daniel Craig has a moustache, so it's definitely cool.”