Actor Alia Bhatt‘s recent advertisement for Manyavar started a debate on Twitter which ended in social media users calling for a boycott of the clothing brand.
Bhatt’s recent bridal ad became a subject of criticism as many joined the debate online on whether the advertisement disrespects Hindu traditions. The advertisement questioned ‘kanyadaan‘, a tradition where the bride’s family gives her away to the groom. Bhatt’s ad particularly focused on how girls in India are often considered a burden to be married off.
Soon after the ad was released, several Twitter users called out Bhatt and the brand for “pointing fingers” at Hindu rituals.
A Twitter user wrote, “What is this advertisement? To your surprise, no, ‘Kanyadaan‘ doesn’t mean that a girl is a commodity and can be given away. Hindu rituals are so easy for you people to point fingers at.”
Another Twitter user stated, “In its latest ad, clothing brand Manyavar portrayed ‘Kanyadan’ as regressive. So when a bride is given away in a Hindu wedding it is ‘patriarchal’, but not when the same occurs in a Christian wedding? It’s not an ad about weddings. It’s ad to promote hate against Hindu rituals.”
Actor Kangana Ranaut also took to social media to criticise the brand and Bhatt. In an Instagram post, Ranaut wrote, “Humble request to all brands… don’t use religion, minority, majority politics to sell things… Stop manipulating naive consumer with shrewd divisive concepts and advertising…”
She added, “The way society looks at the concept of renunciation shows its core value system… When they start to look down upon the very idea of daan… then you know it is time for the reestablishment of Ram Rajya… The king who renounced everything he ever loved only to live the life of a monk.”
Others, meanwhile, expressed their support for the ad. One Twitter user wrote, “Unless we speak about regressive rituals, we cannot start conversations about change.”
Another said, “Anytime there is a movement towards changing patriarchal traditions in India, you witness an uproar from men who have never experienced injustices and favour inequities against women in the name of religion. We need to raise our voices against that. #kanyamaan #iamwithmanyavar”
However, the brand soon put out a statement saying rituals are an intrinsic part of our society, and added that the recent ad featuring Bhatt only tries to promote a more inclusive and equal space for women.
According to a report in The Economic Times, the company’s statement read, “In India, weddings are all about rituals and traditions that bring about a happy union. These age-old rituals have been an intrinsic part of our society and one of the most important being ‘Kanyadaan‘. Harping upon this ritual and the conventional thought behind it, Mohey’s recent DVC featuring Alia Bhatt tries to promote a more inclusive and equal space for women in marriage and in life.”
Bhatt is yet to issue a comment regarding this.