A Tanishq ad on interfaith love triggered a furious backlash on social media with some accusing the jewellery brand of promoting 'love jihad', prompting the company on Tuesday to withdraw the film citing hurt sentiments and the well-being of its staff.
The 43 second commercial, which led to the hashtag #BoycottTanishq trending on Twitter, shows a pregnant woman being led to her bridal shower, a Hindu custom called 'godh bharai', by a woman who viewers later realise is her mother-in-law.
The young woman, in a sari and bindi, addresses the older one, in a salwar kurta and a dupatta covering her head, as 'Ma' and asks, "But you don't celebrate this custom?" The mother responds with a gentle, "The tradition of keeping daughters happy is there in every home." Setting the scene of a composite family, a woman in a hijab, people in saris and a man in a skullcap can be seen in the backdrop.
The description of the video on YouTube read: "She is married into a family that loves her like their own child. Only for her, they go out of their way to celebrate an occasion that they usually don't. A beautiful confluence of two different religions, traditions, cultures."
Here is what has happened since the ad was published on YouTube:
1- The commercial opened the floodgates of debate and trolling with a flurry of tweets, some angry and threatening, demanding a ban on the advertisement and a boycott of the brand, a Tata product.
Tanishq first disabled comments and likes/dislikes on its ad on YouTube, and on Tuesday withdrew the video altogether.
"We are deeply saddened with the inadvertent stirring of emotions and withdraw this film keeping in mind the hurt sentiments and well being of our employees, partners and store staff. The idea behind the Ekatvam campaign is to celebrate the coming together of people from different walks of life, local communities and families during these challenging times and celebrate the beauty of oneness," Tanishq said in a statement.
The removal of the ad led to fresh debate with several people, including Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, writer Chetan Bhagat and actor Swara Bhasker calling out the trolls.
A Tanishq jewellery showroom in Gandhidham town of Gujarat's Kutch district has put up a note on its door, apologising to Hindus in the district over the brand's controversial TV ad which has been withdrawn. The showroom manager and local police rubbished media reports that the showroom was attacked by some people angry with the Tanishq advertisement.
"No such attack has taken place," said Superintendent of Police, Kutch-East, Mayur Patil.