In one of the recent episodes of the popular show Kaun Banega Crorepati, Megastar Amitabh Bachchan commented on International Monetary Fund chief economist Gita Gopinath's beauty.
"The economist seen in this image has been the chief economist of which organisation since 2019," the veteran actor asked the question on his show. He then said, "Her face is so beautiful that no one can relate her to the economy", before listing out the four options to the contestant.
Following the episode, an elated Gopinath tweeted, "Ok, I don't think I will ever get over this. As a HUGE fan of Big B @SrBachchan, the Greatest of All Time, this is special".
While Bachchan's comment may have floored Gopinath, but the netizens took a huge offence of it and called it sexist, one that links "beauty with brains".
"Her face is so beautiful that nobody would associate her with the economy" —says Amitabh Bachchan on Gita Gopinath. Gita Gopinath should've returned the compliment by saying, 'His brain is so small that nobody would associate him with intelligence'," tweeted one user.
Another user posted, "Amitabh Bachchan said Gita Gopinath's face is so beautiful that no one will associate it with Economics. Meanings - 1. Females in Economics are not good looking. 2. Good looking females cannot be economists. 3. Beauty and brains don't go together. 4. I am a patriarchal idiot."
"So sad that he just had to mention your looks while pointing to your earned achievement. Bet you he wouldn't have made a mention if, say, @raghuramrajan or @kaushikcbasu were on the screen," read another tweet.
Some also believed that Gopinath being okay with Bachchan's remark was equally problematic as they said it normalised casual sexism and patriarchy.
"Blatant sexism displayed by @SrBachchan 2. Perfect example of women enabling patriarchy displayed by @GitaGopinath," read one post.
Another user said, "This is the reason sexism will exist forever. It is so normalised that even some of the most brilliant women don't identify it and call it out."
"As much as I appreciate the humbleness of @GitaGopinath in response to the statement made by @SrBachchan, it saddens me to hear a sexist comment from an icon who I idolize for his contribution to the entertainment industry," a user tweeted.
However, there were also some people who defended Bachchan's remarks and Gopinath's fangirl response.
"He just appreciated a beautiful face with an intelligent mind. Beauty appeals to all be it a flower, a city, bird or human being. Anybody would be flabbergasted to receive a comment from Amitabh sir," a user tweeted.
Another said, "He didn’t mention it. I believe he just had to add this compliment because he thought people who don’t know her could easily presume a celebrity."
In an overnight post, Bachchan seemingly addressed the controversy, saying that he made the comment about Gopinath's looks in "utmost earnestness".
"Thank you, Gita Gopinath Ji... I meant every word I said about you on the show .. said in utmost earnestness," he wrote on a fan's post who shared the video of the episode.
With PTI inputs