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Kalyan Jewellers to withdraw ‘racist’ ad featuring Aishwarya Rai Bachchan

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MUMBAI: Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is in the line of fire over a print advertisement for Kalyan Jewellers featuring her.

Aishwarya faced the fury of activists for the “offensive” advertisement that shows a dark child carrying an umbrella over her head. However the actress has said that the actual image was changed by the brand.

As a result of this, Kalyan Jewellers is in the process of withdrawing this creative from its campaign. In an official statement, the jewellery brand said, “This creative was intended to present royalty, timeless beauty and elegance. If we have, inadvertently, hurt the sentiments of any individual or organization, we deeply regret the same.”

A group comprising a feminist activist, a former chairperson of National Commission for Protection of Child Rights among others wrote an open letter to slam the actress’ print ad, which they felt also promoted child labour.

“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,” read the open letter.

“As an influential member of the Indian film industry and a popular star with a large fan following, we trust that you wish to use your image in a manner that promotes progressive thought and action, and would not knowingly promote regressive images that are racist and go against child rights,” it further read.

Replying to the open letter, Aishwarya issued a statement saying, “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. Thank you once again.”

It may be recalled that Aishwarya along with her father-in-law Amitabh Bachchan endorses Kalyan Jewellers and the two were recently in Chennai to inaugurate the brand’s new store. 

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