Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt’s latest commercial for Indian wedding attire company Manyavar has gone viral on social media and has been making rounds on Twitter for its frivolous message. The ad attempts to question the Hindu tradition of kanyadan where, loosely translated for the woke, the bride is considered ‘paraya dhan’ or someone else’s property.
It features Ali Bhatt at her wedding, wearing a pink embellished bridal attire with what the ad maker tries to pass off as an insightful monologue. She begins by talking about her how grandmother would tell her that she would miss her when she leaves for her ‘home’. Questioning this, Alia looks at the camera and asks “Isn’t my parents’ home, mine?”
She goes over several other traditions and wonders why we have to separate the daughter from her family and why kanyadan is given so much importance. The ad, in the end, suggests that instead of kanyadan, one should practise kanyaman (respecting the girl).
After the ad was released, Twitter was abuzz with angry reactions from people who were hurt by the latest assault on Hindu practices by the entertainment world. Users made fun of the superficial understanding of Hinduism by Bollywood and fashion industries.
No prizes for guessing that a section of netizens wondered what the fuss was all about, as they lauded the feminist message. Another section was furious with the ad-makers for disrespecting Hindu traditions.
Sample this. A woke wrote, “A big thank you #Manyavar. Hope you won’t give into the pressure….it’s only natural that the regressive brigades would draw their swords out, hound you….don’t give in please. Hugely laudable your effort!”
Another user wrote against the ad, “This is called forced feminism. What a BS ad by Manyavar. Now they have problem in the term Kanyadaan. Who fills this dung in their mind? I feel it’s a deliberate attempt to insult Hindu traditions. F-O Manyavar.”
Alia Bhatt is a daughter of Mahesh Bhatt whose mother was a Muslim. Mahesh Bhatt had created an uproar in the 1990s by saying he would have married his first daughter Pooja. His photo showing him kissing Pooja on the lips was met with shock and disdain in that era and is still recalled for condemnation of incest.
Alia Bhatt has been a personification of challenged intellect since her debut in Student of the Year. Many memes created to convey ideas of idiocy feature Alia Bhatt. It all started when she could not answer some simple questions of general knowledge at a public function. She was asked on Karan Johar’s show Koffee with Karan ― which featured her co-actors from the first film Sidharth Malhotra and Varun Dhawan too ― who was the president of India at the time. She named the then Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan.
Telecast originally on 29 December 2013, the episode of KWK coincided with Pranab Mukherjee’s presidency.
Alia Bhatt tried to undo the damage by appearing to take it in the chin with a spoof Alia: Genius of the Year by AIB. That did not help. So many years since her disastrous reply in KWK, she remains a butt of popular jokes.
But to be fair to Alia Bhatt, her co-panellists did not get the answer right either. Varun Dhawan said “Manmohan Singh” while Sidharth Malhotra cold not answer the question. The whole Bollywood reeks of idiocy, doesn’t it?