The Tanishq Ad I Found Offensive

Most of the past week social media was abuzz with the new Tanishq advertisement for the festive season. Social media was divided over whether the advertisement was offensive. There was much rage over its alleged love jihad theme and eventually Tanishq took it off from all platforms.

For those of you who haven’t watched it, you can watch it here.

The advertisement came to my light after the controversy broke out over the advertisement and the love jihad claims. My personal interpretation was that the ad conveyed a progressive theme which was reflective of the times we live in. We are living in the midst of increasing number of interfaith and intercommunity marriages. The more appealing part of the advertisement was the healthy warm equation shared between the mother-in-law and the daughter-in-law. The daughter-in-law and her immediate family can be seen happily participating in the family function. The daughter-in-law is dressed like a woman from the Hindu faith, nothing to suggest coercion of any kind.

Of course, every creative output is open to one’s personal interpretation. Our individual mindsets and opinions play a large role in our perceptions and interpretation. Even with the love jihad interpretation, the take away of the advertisement could also have been about mutual respect and acceptance.

If there is an advertisement of Tanishq that I found offensive, then it has to be the following one:

The ad shows a woman who has no inclination to get married while being pestered by her father. She magically changes her mind after visiting the Tanishq store by her mother’s stealth maneuver. She tries out an ear ring and necklace. Just like that, she is thinking about marriage because she tried on wedding jewellery at Tanishq store. In what reality, would a seemingly independent woman who drives a car take a life changing decision like marriage just by trying out some gold jewellery? Do women get married to wear gold jewellery? Can’t she purchase and wear beautiful gold jewellery without having to get married? The outright sexism in the advertisement is an affront to all the women. The woman in the advertisement comes across as flighty with no real perspective about life to be so easily coerced.

While we are on the topic of Tanishq ads, they did make some touching advertisements woven with progressive messages. Here are two of my favourites:

My reflections and opinions on the Tanishq ads are my individual viewpoint. You might totally disagree with my analysis and quite rightly so. It is this diversity of opinions that makes for an open-minded inclusive environment. The right to dissent is the lifeline of our democracy but do we have the right to impose our viewpoints? Diversity has always been and should always remain our identity and strength.

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