Using a scene from the film Gangubai Kathiawadi to promote an offer for men on social media, a local eatery in Karachi drew a massive outrage.
It all started on Friday when the restaurant’s official social media pages posted an edited clip from Alia Bhatt’s latest offering, Gangubai Kathiawadi, as a promotional gimmick.
In the said scene in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s directorial, Bhatt was forced into prostitution after being left at Kamathipura and she tries to hauntingly attract her first customer. “Aja na Raja – what are you waiting for?” the post read. “Swings is calling out all the Rajas out there. Ajao and avail a 25% discount on Men’s Monday at Swings!”
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As soon as the post went up, it received heated comments from social media users calling the restaurant out for its bad taste in content promoting offers at the restaurant.
Netizens call out the eatery
Content creator Daniyal Sheikh took to their Facebook post and wrote, “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.”
Other content creators and social media users commented on Instagram and called them out.
A user wrote, “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.”
Another user wrote that they did not really expect such an advertisement from the restaurant and that they are “extremely disappointed”.
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 jewelry and money. Not only is she beaten but also forced into prostitution, and the scene used in the Swing promotion shows the very traumatic experience of her first client.
Apology draws more ire
On Friday night, the restaurant shared another post on Instagram claiming that it was “just a concept”. In its clarification, the official social media handles shared a newspaper clipping with Bhatt’s same picture as the main image, coupled with a headline, Aray logon, itna dil pe kyun lelia? (Why the uproar?).”
“We didn’t mean to hurt the sentiments of anyone. The movie and this post are based on a concept. Like before, we are open to all and will be serving you with the same love as we always have,” read the caption.
After sharing a meek apology, the restaurant did not even bother to take down the original post. As expected, the clarification drew more ire, and many called out Swings for a troublesome marketing team and a tone-deaf statement.
It may be recalled that a local bakery came under fire last year after a staffer refused to write ‘Merry Christmas’ on the cake. Prior to that, a cafe in Islamabad received backlash when its owners humiliated the manager for speaking broken English.
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