Bollywood star Ranveer Singh has apologised for appearing in an ad for a fashion brand that many have deemed sexist.
The Jack & Jones campaign shows the actor with a woman slung on his shoulder accompanied by the caption, ‘Don’t hold back. Take your work home’.
It has since been taken down.
“It was important to give the brand the creative freedom while designing the campaign but I guess we got it wrong on one of those billboards. I am sorry this happened, but it is a thing of past,” Singh said in a statement. “We rectified it immediately by having the hoarding taken down as early as possible from over 30 cities overnight.”
The latest faux pas comes after actor Salman Khan’s comments about his role as wrestler in the movie Sultan, where he compared the impact of his gruelling training to the plight of a woman being raped. Khan faced boycott and protests, but it did little to effect the fate of his film, which became a blockbuster.
And while a sense of muffled outrage has run through the film industry, no one from Singh’s fraternity is willing to come out in the open to condemn the ad. Speaking about Singh, a woman co-star said: “I am sure he didn’t mean to insult women. Ranveer is one of the most cultured and chivalrous actors in Bollywood. He still believes in old-world courtesy, like getting up when a woman enters a room, opening doors for women. He would never insult a woman. Still, it is a shameful ad and I don’t want to sound as if I am defending it, because I am not. So please don’t quote me.”
One of Singh’s directors said: “He keeps getting into these embarrassing situations. There is an exhibitionist side to his personality which he needs to curb.”
However, ad guru Prahlad Kakkar says there’s nothing to get so worked up about.
“We as a country have lost our sense of humour, and the media is willing to make and sensationalise even a joke into an issue. Whether I found it funny or not is irrelevant, the fact that it was meant to be light-hearted is the point! It just shows people’s intolerance to an alternative point of humour! So we should ban all jokes which cause heartburn to communities that can’t take a joke at their expense!”
Interestingly, on Times Now, another ad guru Alyque Padamsee tried to explain how the ad would have been found harmless and humorous in the 1940s.
The panellists and the two female co-anchors pounced on Padamsee.
When they wouldn’t allow him to speak, he referred to them sarcastically as ‘Arnab’ the channel’s star-anchor who quit recently.
But quite clearly, Padamsee’s brash sarcasm didn’t work for this controversy.
An ad filmmaker-turned-feature-filmmaker said: “Alyque shouldn’t defend the indefensible. We’re living in dangerous times. Anything even remotely misogynistic invites wrath.”