The trope of progression, hated by trolls in ads, showed in a major Bollywood movie.
The song 'Kudmayi' from the recent film Rocky aur Rani ki Prem Kahaani is truly winning hearts. The rendition, which portrays the wedding of the two characters, has struck the right balance of beautiful music, meaningful lyrics and captivating visuals. The dazzling lights, stunning sets and the actors' attires are a sight to behold. But it is the emotional scenes that really breathe life into them.
One of the most notable scenes in this song is the ‘kanyadaan’. Following the traditional ritual, Rani's father places her hand in Rocky's, but Rocky's father immediately takes his hand and puts it in Rani's. A simple yet powerful gesture. In its simplicity, it breaks through the shackles of patriarchy and indicates that age-old traditions do not have to be blindly followed. The scene brings back memories of two ads that were hugely trolled on social media for its 'anti-Hindu' stance.
This moment in the song is quite similar to a Mohey ad 'Kanyamaan' from 2021. Strangely, that ad also featured Alia Bhatt as a bride. Sitting at the mandap with the bridegroom, she mentions each member of her family and how much they love her. However, she objects to being treated as a temporary part of the family. In an internal monologue, she asks, “Am I a thing to be donated? Why only kanyadaan?” And the ad ends with her in-laws also extending forward their son's hand as a mark of equality.
Soon after its release, social media was abuzz with negative comments and hate for the brand and the actor.
A similar response was witnessed on an AU Bank ad featuring Aamir Khan and Kiara Advani as newlyweds. The 2022 ad shows the groom moving to the bride’s house after marriage. Khan is shown to have a 'grihapravesh' just like a bride would have when she would enter her marital home. The ad concludes with him asking, “Why should traditions that have continued for centuries continue to do so?"
Many social media users pointed out that the girl moving into her husband's home is not just a Hindu tradition, but is followed worldwide. Many others found Khan's religion to be a cause of concern. These comments eventually forced AU Bank to pull down the ad.
Despite not finding favour amongst the people in ads, these tropes have finally made it to a mainstream Bollywood film. Considering how popular the controversies made these ads, could they have influenced the filmmaker? We can only guess.