A leading jewellery chain today withdrew a one-and-a-half minute-long advertisement featuring Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan and his daughter after it came under attack from a bank union which said it was aimed at creating 'distrust' in the banking system.
"We sincerely regret the inadvertent hurt caused and withdraw the advertisement from all media with immediate effect," Executive Director of Kalyan Jewellers, Ramesh Kalyanaraman said in a statement here.
He said, "we understand that the advertisement has hurt sentiments of some people including members of our esteemed banking community. Any such hurtful interpretation being drawn is unintended."
"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," the statement said.
All India Bank Officers' Confederation, an organisation claiming to have membership of around 3,20,000 officers, last week threatened to sue Kalyan Jewellers accusing it of "casting aspersion and hurting the sentiments of millions of personnel" through the advertisement.
AIBOC general secretary Soumya Datta had alleged that the theme, tone and tenor of the Ad were "disgusting, derogatory, to say the least and is aimed to create distrust in the banking system, for pure commercial gain."
However, Kalyan Jewellers had rejected the allegation, saying it was "pure fiction."
The advertisement features Bachchan as an old man and Shweta Bachchan Nanda as his daughter.
In the ad, Bachchan, depicted as a person with integrity and honesty, is seen visiting a bank branch along with his daughter to return the extra money credited in his pension account and his bitter encounter with bank employees in the process.
"The advertisement portrays banks in bad light, casting aspersion, hurting the sentiment of millions of personnel, stakeholders and is a direct attempt to ruin the trust and confidence of billions of citizenries in banks," Datta had said.
Bachchan had tweeted the video of the ad, saying "Emotional moment for me.. Tears welling up every time I see it.. Daughters are the best !!"
Popular Malayalam actress Manju Warrier acted as his daughter in the advertisement's Malayalam version.
AIBOC had said in the ad, Bachchan tried to exhibit his honesty by drumming around that "Honesty doesn't mean when everyone is watching, rather it is about being honest when nobody is looking at you.
But, Mr Bachchan perhaps was unaware that in the process of doing so on screen, he has made a mockery of the entire bankers' community in the ad which is deplorable and culpable."
Datta had said "we express our strong resentment against the management of Kalyan Jewellers and Mr Bachchan who have manifested a negative and false image of the Banks in the ad for their personal aggrandisement."
"We deem it as a case of defamation to all the banks as a whole," it had said.
Demanding an unconditional apology from the jewellery group, the AIBOC had said if the advertisement was not withdrawn, suitable "organisational action, including dharnas and litigation" would be initiated.