A restaurant in Pakistan has received backlash on social media for using a scene from the Bollywood film Gangubai Kathiawadi starring Alia Bhatt to promote a men-only offer. Alia Bhatt plays Gangubai, a prostitute who rises through the ranks to become an influential transvestite prostitute in the film. The restaurant’s advertisement in Karachi depicted a scene from the film in which Bhatt gestured to have her first customer. Swing announced Men’s Monday with that poster, which included a 25% discount for men.
“Aaja na Raja – what else are you waiting for?” said the advertisement’s tagline.
The commercial featured Bhatt standing at the door and a large billboard advertising a 25% discount on “Men’s Monday.” “Swings is calling out to all the Rajas out there,” read the post’s caption.
After being posted on social media, the advertisement quickly spread across various online media. Several users complained that the advertisement was offensive and requested that it be removed.
“You should look into what was being posted here. “Using a painful scene to justify whatever you’re providing reeks of misogyny and ignorance,” one user wrote. “What cheap marketing,” commented another.
“If you think this is some sort of marketing plan that will get you some attention and customers, you’re sadly mistaken!” said a third user. Using a clip from a movie about prostitution (which, by the way, is based on someone’s real life) demonstrates how low and shallow you can go for publicity.”
Swing, instead of taking it down, provided clarification. The restaurant defended the advertisement, claiming that it was only a concept and was not intended to offend anyone. “Both the film and this post are based on a concept. “As before, we’re accessible to all and will serve you with the same love as always,” it said.
The restaurant distributed a fictitious newspaper with the headline, “Movie kare tou aag, restaurant kare tou paap?” “Aray logon, itna dil pe kyun leliya?” read another headline in the paper.