Karachi restaurant draws severe criticism for using “Gangubai Kathiawadi’s triggering scene” as a marketing stunt
Recently, a local eatery in Karachi named Swings, attracted severe criticism for its inappropriate marketing stunt. In a bid to attract men to the restaurant, the local eatery took inspiration from the prostitution-themed movie Gangubai.
What was the advertisement about?
Swings posted an edited clip of Alia Bhatt’s film, Gangubai Kathiawadi, as a promotional gimmick on its social media platforms. The post read:
Aja na Raja – what are you waiting for? Swings are calling out all the Rajas out there. Ajao and avail of a 25% discount on Men’s Monday at Swings!
Why was the post wrong?
The movie scene the restaurant used is emotionally triggering for many women. The scene signifies how Alia Bhatt was forced into prostitution after being left at Kamathipura. It displays how she tries to hauntingly attract her first customer.
Public furious at the ad
Soon after the post went up, many people took to social media and called out the restaurant on its demeaning and insensitive take on sexual abuse.
YouTuber Daniyal Sheikh commented:
Ajaa na raja? What is this? It’s promoting sexual abuse of women and makes fun of women who are forced to be a prostitute. Try to be responsible.
Pakistani actor Sana Sarfaraz added:
Just wondering if you have any women working in your restaurant. Do they feel safe?
Many others took to Instagram and Facebook and left seething comments on the post. Here are a few:
The worse was yet to come for ‘Swings’
Following the intense public outrage, Swings took to its social media to share a meek apology. The restaurant didn’t take down the original post, but in clarification, shared a newspaper clipping with Alia Bhatt’s picture as the main image, coupled with a headline:
Aray logon, itna dil pe kyun lelia? (Why the uproar?).
The caption of the said post read:
Just a concept. We didn’t mean to hurt the sentiments of anyone. The movie and this post are based on a concept. Like before, we’re open to all and will be serving you with the same love as we always have.
The clarification angered people even more. Initially, the people who were calling out Swings for troublesome marketing were now angry at them for the mean apology and a tone-deaf statement.
The public outrage is justified since the Gangubai Kathiawadi movie addresses very serious themes. The particular scene depicts the woes of women who are forced into prostitution. Had the ‘concept’ of the film been unclear, the furore could be touted as misplaced. Swings have only made their case worse by telling people to go easy on their inappropriate marketing stunt.
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