Sabyasachi junks the controversial Mangalsutra ad
Designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee pulls down its controversial Mangalsutra ad campaign featuring models in “indecent” apparel after receiving backlash from public.
Sabyasachi also received an “ultimatum” from Madhya Pradesh’s Home Minister Narottam Mishra. Narottam Mishra is also the spokesperson of BJP’s Madhya Pradesh unit.
“I have warned earlier, and I am issuing a personal warning to Sabyasachi Mukherjee. I’m giving him an ultimatum of 24 hours to withdraw the ad or else an FIR will be registered against him, legal action will be taken, and force will be sent”, Mishra said speaking to a news reporter.
The celebrity designer received a legal notice from BJP’s legal advisor for Maharashtra.
In the context of making heritage and culture a dynamic conversation, the Mangalsutra campaign aimed to talk about inclusivity and empowerment. The campaign was intended as a celebration and we are deeply saddened that it has instead offended a section of our society. So we at Sabyasachi have decided to withdraw the campaign,” the company said in a statement.
This morning, MP Home Minister was quoted as saying by news agency ANI: “Sabyasachi Mukherjee has withdrawn the objectionable advertisement after my post. If he repeats such a thing, then direct action will be taken, no warning will be given. I appeal to him and those like him to not hurt sentiments of people.”
A few days ago, designer Sabyasachi shared a campaign for its collection. The campaign shared intimate pictures of men and women; this was seen as “Against Hindu Culture” by a section of general population.
The campaign received ire of politicians and right-wing groups.
History of “Controversial Ads”
Sabyasachi was not the first made-in-India brand to receive internet hatred and threats.
Recently, Dabur withdrew an advertisement featuring lesbians celebrating Karwa Chauth. The spokesperson of Dabur said the ad promoted inclusivity, equality and a progressive view of marriage. However, the campaign received criticism from a section of netizen. The campaign also received a crude response from the same minister.
Mr. Mishra while slamming Dabur also said “In future, they will show two men taking ‘feras’”. He said that police had been ordered to ask the company to withdraw the advertisement.
A similar pattern is noticeable, specially in recent years. Advertisement campaigns have been becoming the talk of the town but for wrong reasons.
In a similar situation, Fabindia faced a boycott for its “Jashn-E-Riwaaz” collection after BJP Yuva Morcha president Tejasvi Surya tweeted against it. The Fabindia later came out with an explanation.
Other brands having faced backlash include Manyaavar for its advertisement featuring Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt. The campaign was for Manyaavar’s Bridal fashion “Mohey”. The advertisement questioned the concept of “Kanyadaan”. Many saw it as an attack on the rituals of Hindu marriage rituals. Similarly, CEAT’s commercial featuring Aamir Khan urging people to not burst crackers was seen as an attack on Diwali.
Sabyasachi Mukherjee was born in 1974 to middle-class parents who emigrated from Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) in 1947.
He is an Indian fashion designer, jewelry designer, retailer and couturier from Kolkata, India. He gained prominence in 2000s as he started designing apparels for famous movies like Guzaarish, Baabul, Laaga Chunari Mein Daag, Raavan, and English Vinglish.
He has also designed many celebrity lehenga for wedding of many cricketers and filmstars including the lehenga for Deepika Padukone and Anushka Sharma among others.
Sabyasachi’s celebrity clientele also includes Samantha Akkineni, Rani Mukerji, Sridevi, Tabu, Shabana Azmi, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Anushka Sharma, Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra, Shraddha Kapoor, Sushmita Sen, Radhika Pandit and Kareena Kapoor Khan among several others.
Internationally, actresses Renée Zellweger and Reese Witherspoon, among others, have sported the label.