The hashtag #BoycottNirma has been trending on microblogging platform Twitter with more than 22,000 tweets since Tuesday. This comes in the light of the recent ad they put out, featuring Akshay Kumar.
The ad, which was released on 3 January, shows Kumar as a Maratha king. The actor is shown returning after a victorious battle and showered with flower petals. When he says “khushiyaan manaao” (let us celebrate), a woman quips: “What celebrations…you come back with such dirty clothes which we now have to clean.”
To this, Kumar says in the ad the king’s army not only knows how to thrash enemies but also how to wash clothes. The entire army and Kumar then set about washing their soiled clothes. Many on social media are calling for a boycott of the Nirma washing power with the hashtag #BoycottNirma. They are alleging that the ad belittles Maratha warriors and their bravery.
Since the ad has taken the dislike of many on Twitter, we asked a few millennials to share their thoughts on the boycott hashtag and the general offence taken to the ad.
What Do Millennials Think?
"Honestly, I don't really see how the ad is offensive but since I don't belong to the Maratha community I cannot speak for them. Plus, the ad in itself doesn't really make sense and I don't know why Nirma ever thought it would be a good idea." Stan, 24, Writer.
"It's a fun ad, why do they get so personal about it? Though it is a stupid ad. The women are not portrayed as the graceful and poised women of the time, and the men seem overly ridiculous instead of the general calm and collected Maratha warriors. But, the whole ad is a lighthearted joke, I see how it could be taken wrongly, but we shouldn't look into it and analyse it so much, at the end of the day it's just a silly ad." Shivani, 25, Designer.
"The ad is just dumb. I mean it makes no sense, like at all. It's all over the place, but all ads are like that. They're so random and weird, but I don't see why this could be offensive honestly. Like I know the Maratha warriors have some great history behind them, and we should respect it, but this ad doesn't ridicule anything. It's about the men coming back from a battle and washing their clothes, to sum it up. Why is that so weird? And boycotting anything is like a trend now, in this way, no one would ever use anything, everything would be boycotted. It's an ad man, just get over it. There are more serious issues out there." Namrata, 27, Writer.
"It's like they've used the concept of Maratha warriors to sell the product. I don't think that we should boycott Nirma, that's just extreme, but they should be more careful about what they put out, people are hurt easily. Just put in the effort to make sure your ads, films or whatever are responsible, you owe that much to the community." Shreyas, 36, Theatre Artist.
"The people who are boycotting Nirma are the same ones who send the most stereotypical WhatsApp jokes and think women belong in the kitchen. Like please grow a conscience. There are people dying, hungry and struggling, there are problems bigger than those of an ad that makes a joke. Just take a damn joke, man." Parth, 29, Engineer.
"I am a Maratha, and I don't care about the ad. Buy the detergent, wash your clothes and go. If we sit and make a list of all the things every single person wants boycotted, we'll be living in forests, eating fruits from trees with no internet. Learn where to show your outrage, this is just maddening. Every day there's a new call for a boycott, y'all need to chill out." Stuti, 25, Student.
This is not the first time that an advertisement has been hounded for ‘hurting sentiments’ of people.
In March 2019, an ad for Surf Excel (a detergent power) faced a lot of criticism after some people accused it of promoting love jihad and calling it Hindu-phobic. The ad featured a young Hindu girl and a Muslim boy. It showed the girl, dressed in white, choosing to get stained in Holi colours in order to protect her Muslim friend who has to go to a nearby mosque.
The list is endless, but let us know what you think!