Kalyan jewellers withdraws ad featuring Amitabh

Kalyan jewellers withdraws ad featuring Amitabh

Actor Amitabh Bachchan. (AFP file photo)

Leading jewellery brand Kalyan Jewellers has withdrawn an advertisement after a banking employee union raised an objection to its content which “denigrated” the employees.

The commercial features Amitabh Bachchan with his daughter Shweta Bachchan-Nanda in the Hindi version and with actress Manju Warrier in Malayalam. The All India Bank Officers' Confederation (AIBOC) had earlier served a legal notice to the jewellery company demanding the withdrawal of the advertisement.

Bachchan is shown in the commercial as a pensioner visiting a bank with his daughter to correct a transaction error in his account – his pension has been credited twice and he wants to return the additional money. An official of the bank is shown asking the man to “celebrate” instead. The official asks him not to worry since no one’s going to know about the extra money. Bachchan’s character signs off by stating he won’t agree to be part of the wrongdoing. The commercial was shot as part of the brand’s ‘Trust Campaign’ series.

Ramesh Kalyanaraman, Executive Director – Marketing, Kalyan Jewellers, on Sunday said the company regretted the “inadvertent hurt” caused to the banking community and was withdrawing the advertisement from all media. “We state that the creative advertisement was a work of fiction and not a reflection of banking employees at large. Along with crores of Indians, we acknowledge the valuable contribution of the banking community to our country,” he said in a statement.

“The theme, tone and tenor of the advertisement is disgraceful, derogatory, to say the least, and is aimed to create distrust in the banking system, for pure commercial aggrandisement,” Soumya Datta, general secretary of AIBOC, had said. The advertisement showed banks in poor light and “attacked the very basic fabric of banking – trust,” the confederation said. The AIBOC Kerala state committee had also hit out against the advertisement, calling it “misleading” and conceived in “bad taste”.

Bachchan, who posted the advertisement on his Twitter page last week, had commenters questioning his decision to be part of it.