"Aja na raja? What is this?"
A restaurant in Karachi has drawn flak on social media platforms for using a scene from Gangubai Kathiawadi featuring Alia Bhatt to promote an offer only for men.
In the film, Alia Bhatt essayed the role of prostitute Gangubai who became an influential brothel owner.
The advertisement showed a scene in the film where Alia Bhatt gestured to men to get her client.
With that poster, the restaurant Swing announced Men’s Monday with a 25% discount for men.
The tagline of the advertisement said: “Aja na Raja – what are you waiting for?”
The advertisement on Instagram received a huge backlash as social media users slammed the ‘cheap promotion’ of the restaurant.
One user wrote: “You really need to look into what’s being put up here. To use a painful scene to justify whatever you’re offering is reeking of misogyny, ignorance.”
Another commented: “If you guys think that this is some sort of marketing strategy and this will gain you some attention and customers then you’re sadly mistaken!
“Using a clip from a movie based on prostitution (which btw is based on someone’s real-life) just shows how low and shallow you can get just for publicity.”
YouTuber Daniyal Sheikh penned: “Aja na raja? What is this?
“It’s promoting sexual abuse of women and literally making fun of women who are forced to be a prostitute. Try to be responsible.”
In their clarification, the restaurant shared a newspaper clipping with Alia Bhatt’s same 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 is based on a concept. Like before, we’re open to all and will be serving you with the same love like we always have.”
The clarification drew more ire and many called out Swings for a troublesome marketing team and a tone-deaf statement.
Some claimed that the outrage is rightfully deserved since Gangubai Kathiawadi 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.
Gangubai Kathiawadi tells the story of a woman who was forced into prostitution and her journey to becoming a feared and revered leader.
She was sold into the market by her lover Ramnik who flees with her jewellery and money.
She is beaten and forced into prostitution, and the scene used in the restaurant promotion shows the very traumatic experience of her first client.