After one of the recently released advertisements which applied Hindu customs as ‘backward,’ the clothing brand Manyavar is entangled in the controversy.
Alia, who features in the ad, questions the kanyadaan culture, which has become outmoded (wherein a dad gives his girl away at the wedding). Alia talks about every member of her family — grandma, father, and mother — and what kind of love they have for her while sitting on the mandap with her soon-to-be significant other. Even though everyone adores her, she wonders why she is treated as the ‘other’ and a fleeting member of their family.
“Is it necessary to give me? Why is there only Kanyadaan? “In her inner monologue, she objectifies Kanyadaan. However, she is surprised when her mother-in-law and father-in-law gives their son away. Everyone smiles, and the pair marries. The ad ends with “Kanya Pradaan” and not “Kanyadaan”.
“Promoting a progressive way of thinking, one tradition at a time!” Manyavar said. ‘Kanyamaan’ “puts a new twist on wedding ceremonies, emphasising the importance of valuing brides rather than ‘giving them away.'”
There are many parts to the debate.
The supporters commend the advert for this modern approach towards Kanyadaan. People appreciate Manyavar and Bhatt for publicly questioning a patriarchal tradition that should have been abolished long ago.
Some critics believe that Bollywood can’t invoke “woke feminism” when it is the platform that majorly objectifies women. Taking an actress for the ad represented the message inadequately since the entertainment industry doesn’t respect the dignity of women.
Some are stating why only Hindu traditions are backlashed and called barbaric when nobody calls out on rites like Nikah-Halala and Triple Talaq? Users on social media bemoaned the fact that there isn’t enough awareness about these rituals. The Hindu community is clearly upset that their faith has been singled out for overt insults, evidenced by the outcry against Manyavar. Strong allegations have been made online, especially on Facebook and Twitter, that the video is a mockery of the religion it symbolises.
Rest consider this ad to be a foolish one since women have accomplished so much, they don’t need a bridal-dress brand to promote women empowerment. According to netizens on social media, “role reversal doesn’t do much”.
It’s difficult to say whether Manyavar’s move is a call to reform historical norms or merely a marketing ploy. The advertisement certainly creates a soft effect in altering public opinion and pushing empowerment. But, even the brand recognises that hundreds of years of tradition cannot be changed and that if it does, it would be leading its moral compass astray.