Amitabh Bachchan and Shweta in a still from the advertisement which has created a controversy over its depiction of bankers.
A one-and-a-half minute long advertisement for Kalyan Jewellers, a Kerala-based jewellery chain, featuring Amitabh Bachchan and his daughter has come under attack from a bank union which termed it “disgusting” and aimed at creating distrust in the banking system.
All India Bank Officers’ Confederation, an organisation claiming to have membership of around 3,20,000 officers, has threatened to sue Kalyan Jewellers accusing it of “casting aspersion and hurting the sentiments of millions of personnel” through the advertisement.
AIBOC general secretary Soumya Datta alleged that the theme, tone and tenor of the ad were “disgusting, derogatory, to say the least and is aimed to create distrust in the banking system, for pure commercial gain.”
Kalyan Jewellers rejected the allegation, saying it was “pure fiction.” “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,” Kalyan jewellers said in a letter to Datta.
“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,” it said.
The advertisement features Bachchan as an old man and Shweta Bachchan Nanda as his daughter. In the ad, Bachchan, depicted as a person with integrity and honesty, is seen visiting a bank branch along with his daughter to return the extra money credited in his pension account and his bitter encounter with bank employees in the process.
“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,” Datta said.
Bachchan had tweeted yesterday the video of the ad, saying “Emotional moment for me .. tears welling up every time I see it .. daughters are the best !!”
Popular Malayalam actress Manju Warrier acts as his daughter in the advertisement’s Malayalam version. AIBOC said in the ad, 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,” it said in a statement.
Datta said “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,” it said. Demanding an unconditional apology from the jewellery group, the AIBOC said if the advertisement was not withdrawn, suitable “organisational action, including dharnas and litigation” would be initiated. Abraham Shaji John, AIBOC’s Kerala unit secretary, also condemned the advertisement, saying “it has defamed bank employees.”