Richa Chadha poses
Richa Chadha. Image Credit: AP

The removal of a Tanishq ad that highlighted the beauty of an interfaith marriage has evoked mixed reactions among Bollywood stars. National Award-winning actress Kangana Ranaut, who is known for her right-wing political ideology, slammed the advertisement as ‘shameful’, while Divya Dutt and Richa Chadha were disappointed the advertisement was removed following an intense flurry of social media hate.

On October 9, the popular jewellery brand Tanishq rolled out a video of a Hindu woman getting ready for her baby shower. She is then pleasantly surprised when her Muslim mother-in-law organises an event based on her traditions and rituals. As soon as the ad aired, the hashtag #BoycottTanishq started trending after a large section of social media users called it an encouragement of ‘love jihad’. Love jihad is a theory coined by extremists alleging that Hindu women are coerced into marrying Muslim men for the purposes of conversion. The jewellery brand decided to pull the ad off air following the backlash.

Tanishq advertisement India Titan
A still from the Tanishq ad.

‘Queen’ actress Ranaut expressed her disapproval of the ad on Twitter.

“This advert is wrong on many levels, Hindu bahu [daughter-in-law] is living with the family for significant amount of time but acceptance happens only when she is carrying their heir. So what is she just a set of ovaries? This advert does not only promote love-jihad but also sexism #tanishq,” tweeted Ranaut. “The concept wasn’t as much a problem as the execution was, the fearful Hindu girl apologetically expressing her gratitude to her in-laws for the acceptance of her faith, Isn’t she the woman of the house? Why is she at their mercy? Why so meek and timid in her own house? Shameful.”

But not everybody subscribed to Ranaut’s take. National Award-winning director Onir told Gulf News that the removal of the ad was symbolic of democracy being endangered in India.

“The simple case of the ad of Tanishq being withdrawn is an indication of how much hate exists in our lives today ... This atmosphere that has been created isn’t ideal and goes against democracy,” said Onir.

Meanwhile Richa Chadha labelled it a ‘beautiful ad’ and expressed her disappointment at the latest developments. The removal signifies the promotion of hate and bigotry and goes against the multicultural, secular fabric of India.

Actress Swara Bhasker also echoed Chadha’s sentiments. Actress Divya Dutt, who lent her voice to the ad, expressed her displeasure over the ad’s removal. “Yes it’s my voice. It’s sad it’s taken off air. I loved it,” she tweeted.