Actor Salman Khan probably wishes he could feed certain right wing activists some thanda thanda ice cream right about now. On Sunday, a Shiv Sena unit in Amritsar burnt posters and effigies of the actor, calling for a ban on his latest television ad promoting Chlormint chewing gum. According to the activists the ad, which shows a cow giving ice-cream instead of milk after Salman gives it a mint, is “an insult to Hinduism.”
“Gai hamari mata hai! Ad banaane ke 100 tarike hain. To make an ad this way and play with the sentiments of Hindus is wrong and we ask for an immediate ban, otherwise we will continue with the protest,” said Sandeep Kulkarni, spokesperson of the Amritsar wing of Shiv Sena. Salman, who is currently in Maldives, was unavailable for comment.
Adman Prasoon Joshi, who wrote the script for this ad, calls these protests “bizarre”. “I respect religion and am a religious person myself. The ad is just a childish way of putting a story forward. There is nothing controversial about it,” says Joshi, adding on a note of anger, “The real cows, which are diseased or ageing, need help more than the fictional ones.”
Even the parent body of the Shiv Sena seems to have little clue about the protests. When contacted, Shiv Sena’s spokesperson Rahul Navrekar said, “We have no idea about it. It is not an official agitation by the party, it’s just one single unit that is protesting.”
The consensus is divided among fans over whether the ad is in good taste. “It’s gross. He puts his face so close to the udders, I am surprised PETA is not protesting. Also the ad borders on racism since he makes fun of mongoloids,” says Mohan Sinha, 23. Salman’s fans disagree. “What’s controversial? The ad is funny, Salman is the bestest” says Neelima Ojha, 20, while Tamanna, 18, says, “It’s hilarious. If you disagree, you’re just a big bore.”