A bank union was left fuming at an advertisement featuring actor Amitabh Bachchan and daughter, Shweta Bachchan Nanada, for Kerala-based jewellery chain, Kalyan Jewellers. The ad shows an honest, old man accompanied by his daughter visiting a bank for some pension-related work. It is not clear early on in the ad what their work actually is. The old man and his daughter are sent from one counter to the other by annoyed and dismissive bank officials till they are asked to talk to the manager. The manager too appears to be cut from the same cloth. Turns out the old man received his pension twice and wished to return one amount. As the manager asks him to keep it, the old man gives him a lesson on honesty.
The portrayal of bank officials in the ad has come under attack from the union who has termed it "disgusting". The union, All India Bank Officers' Confederation, even commented on the legendary actor's involvement. "Bachchan tries to exhibit his honesty by drumming around that honesty doesn't mean when everyone is watching, rather it is about being honest when nobody is looking at you. But, Mr Bachchan perhaps was unaware that in the process of doing so on screen, he has made a mockery of the entire bankers' community in the ad which is deplorable and culpable," AIBOC said in a statement.
AIBOC that boasts around 3,20,000 officials even threatened to sue Kalyan Jewellers. AIBOC General Secretary Soumya Datta said that the tone and tenor of the ad was "disgusting, derogatory, to say the least and is aimed to create distrust in the banking system, for pure commercial gain." Datta further added, "The advertisement portrays banks in bad light, casting aspersion, hurting the sentiment of millions of personnel, stakeholders and is a direct attempt to ruin the trust and confidence of billions of citizenries in banks."
"We express our strong resentment against the management of Kalyan Jewellers and Mr Bachchan who have manifested a negative and false image of the Banks in the ad for their personal aggrandisement. We deem it as a case of defamation to all the banks as a whole," he said.
In a response, Kalyan Jewellers said that the ad was "pure fiction". In a letter to Datta, Kalyan Jewellers said, "We understand that your esteemed association feels that the bankers have been portrayed in bad light. We state it on record that it is a pure fiction and at no point we have intended to generalize the bank officers at large."
"Please accept our unconditional disclaimer for the same. We shall within three working days from today add 'characters and situations depicted are fictional. The brand does not intend to disrespect or malign any person or community' before the advertisement," the letter stated.
The union has, however, demanded an unconditional apology from Kalyan Jewellers and has said that if the ad is not withdrawn suitable "organisational action, including dharnas and litigation" would be initiated.
Amitabh Bachchan, on the other hand, posted the ad on Twitter along with an emotional message. "Emotional moment for me .. tears welling up every time I see it .. daughters are the BEST !! (sic)," he wrote.
This ad is the first time the father-daughter duo is seen on screen together. In the ad's Malayalam version, popular actress Manju Warrier plays the role of his daughter.
(With PTI inputs)
Copyright©2021 Living Media India Limited. For reprint rights: Syndications Today