New Delhi, April 23: Following the online furore over the advertisement featuring actor Aishwarya Rai which is claimed to be 'racist' by some activist, Kalyan Jewellers have decided to withdraw the ad from their campaign.
The company has now apologised for hurting the sentiments of people and has began the process to withdraw the campaign.
Kalyan Jewellers on Wednesday posted on their Facebook page: "The creative was intended to present the royalty, timeless beauty and elegance. However, if we have inadvertently hurt the sentiments of any individual or organisation, we deeply regret the same. We have started the process of withdrawing this creative from our campaign."
What is ad all about?
In the ad, the 41-year-old actor is seen decked in jewels along with the child, "dark and emaciated", holding an oversize umbrella over her head.[Spotted: Aishwarya Rai Bachchan At Jazbaa Shooting Spot]
The 41-year-old actress, who is the National brand ambassador for Kalyan Jewellers, had faced the wrath of activists after the print advertisement was published in a leading daily.
Open letter to Aishwarya over the ad
A group comprising a feminist activist, a former chairperson of National Commission for Protection of Child Rights among others had written an open letter titled "Open letter to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan: This ad you figure in is insidiously racist" to slam the former beauty queen's recent print ad, which they felt also promoted child labour.
"We wish to convey our dismay at the concept of this advertisement, and that you have, perhaps unthinkingly, associated with such a regressive portrayal of a child to sell a product...," the letter read. They asked Aishwarya, who is the National brand ambassador for Kalyan Jewellers, to cease to associate herself with "this offensive image by ensuring that further use of this advertisement is stopped".
"As an influential member of the Indian film industry and a popular star with a large fan following, we trust that you wish to use your image in a manner that promotes progressive thought and action, and would not knowingly promote regressive images that are racist and go against child rights," it further read.
Aishwarya's reaction to the letter
Reacting to letter, the actress' publicist on Wednesday issued an image from the original shoot, saying the "final layout is the prerogative of the creative team of a brand".
The publicist's statement is addressed to Farah Naqvi, Nisha Agrawal, Enakshi Ganguly, Bharti Ali, Madhu Mehra, Shantha Sinha, Harsh Mander and Mridula Bajaj, who have signed letter posted on an online portal.
It reads: "On the onset we would like to thank you on drawing our attention to the observation of the perception of the advertisement. Here is an attachment of the shot taken by somebody during the shoot.
"The final layout of the ad is entirely the prerogative of the creative team for a brand. However, shall forward your article as a viewpoint that can be taken into consideration by the creative team of professionals working on the brand visual communication. Thank you once again."
(With agency inputs)