Aish responds to the open letter criticizing her jewellery brand ad poster for promoting child labour and racism
The ever-gorgeous, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, who is ready to make her Bollywood comeback is the face of a leading jeweler, Kalyan Jewellers. As the brand ambassador of Kalyan Jewellers, the actress has been seen at various promotional events and opening of the brand and TV ads decked in the most elaborately and artistically designed jewelry.
While Mrs. Bachchan, along with her father-in-law, Amitabh Bachchan was in Chennai for the grand opening of one of the jewelry stores of the brand she endorses, she got in trouble for her socially controversial poster for Kalyan Jewellers. The picture depicts a royally dressed and decked in jewelry, Aishwarya Rai, resting on a couch with a dark skinned kid struggling to hold a huge umbrella for her. The poster clearly promotes racism and child labour.
Just like the 17th and 18th century European portraits with white aristocrats and black children as their slaves.
The image has really saddened and hurt the sentiments of her fans and followers who criticized her for shooting such a controversial picture.
A group of activists wrote an open letter to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan upon seeing her poster.
Dear Mrs Aishwarya Rai Bachchan,
“We write to draw your attention to a full-page advertisement for Kalyan Jewellers in which you feature that appeared in The Hindu (Delhi edition) on April 17, 2015. In the advertisement you appear to be representing aristocracy from a bygone era – bejewelled, poised and relaxing while an obviously underage slave-child, very dark and emaciated, struggles to hold an oversize umbrella over your head.
We wish to convey our dismay at the concept of this advertisement, and that you have, perhaps unthinkingly, associated with such a regressive portrayal of a child to sell a product. While advertisers routinely use fantasy images to sell products, they must surely desist from using images that condone, legitimise, normalise, or build desirable fantasy around slavery or servitude of any kind, including child slavery or child servitude. Further, the extremely fair colour of your skin (as projected in the advertisement) contrasted with the black skin of the slave-boy is obviously a deliberate “creative” juxtaposition by the advertising agency, and insidiously racist.”
Aishwarya’s publicists responded to this open letter on her behalf by sharing the original picture of her shoot and stating that the actress had no information about how the image will be used by the brand’s advertisers.
“Dear Farah Naqvi, Nisha Agrawal, Enakshi Ganguly , Bharti Ali, Madhu Mehra, Shantha Sinha, Harsh Mander and Mridula Bajaj,
On the onset we would like to thank you on drawing our attention to the observation of the perception of the advertisement. Here is an attachment of the shot taken by somebody during the shoot. The final layout of the ad is entirely the prerogative of the creative team for a brand. However shall forward your article as a viewpoint that can be taken into consideration by the creative team of professional working on the brand visual communication, ” Archana Sadanand wrote on Twitlonger.
Kalyan Jewellers too came out to talk about the the brand’s ad poster.
What do you think about the brand’s advertising strategy? Do you the poster is controversial? If yes, do tell us why.