Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt, who featured in a bridal wear advertisement rejecting the ancient Hindu custom of ‘kanyadaan’ (a father giving their daughter away at her wedding), has evoked extreme reactions.
The ‘Gully Boy’ actress was criticised for performative wokeness and for hurting Hindu religious sentiments.
In the bridal wear advertisement released on September 18, Bhatt is a decked-up bride who’s about to get married as per Hindu rituals, but she is seen questioning the age-old tradition of ‘kanyadaan’ in her own head. Bhatt’s character thinks the custom is patriarchal and regressive.
She wonders aloud why a bride is often referred to as a temporary member of family that she was born into and not as their own. The ad ends with tweaking the custom to ‘Kanyamaan’. While ‘daan’ denotes donate, ‘maan’ alludes to dignity.
Many Twitter users found the concept of the ad problematic.
“#Kanyadaan might just be an Idea for @aliaa08, but for Hindus it’s our ritual. And let me tell you daan is always given of something valuable or mulyavan to anyone, not unlike #bollywood who do it for publicity & PR,” tweeted a user tagging the bridal retail brand.
Another user tweeted: “The very industry that objectifies women in their films, web series and reality shows is preaching about “kanyamaan”. Wish they would practise what they preach then women would automatically get respect.”
Bhatt was also blasted for being a superficially-woke feminist.
While majority found the advertisement performatively progressive, there were a few users who found the ad creative and modern.
Bhatt is yet to comment on the extreme reactions.
She’s currently celebrating her father’s 73rd birthday with her family including her boyfriend Ranbir Kapoor and sister Pooja Bhatt.
On the work front, she is waiting for the release of ‘Brahmastra’ with Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan, and mafia queenpin saga ‘Gangubhai Kathiawadi’, directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali.
Several reports have also emerged that she’s also gearing up for her real-life wedding with partner Ranbir Kapoor. The two have been spotted out and about on several occasions.