Gadkari faces flak online for ad campaign featuring Akshay: ‘Who passes such…’
Union road transport minister Nitin Gadkari shared a series of video ads featuring Akshay Kumar to promote road safety and one of them caught the attention of social media users – but not for good reasons.
A video on road safety campaign featuring Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar drew flak online as many alleged that the advertisement was promoting the practice of dowry, a punishable offence in the country. On Friday, Union minister Nitin Gadkari shared the video on social media amid the government's attempt to promote six airbags in cars.
In the video, a father can be seen crying at the bride's farewell. Akshay Kumar, starring as a policeman, taunts the father for sending the newly married couple in a car that has just two airbags.
Calling the advertisement “problematic”, Shiv Sena leader Priyanka Chaturvedi wondered who passes such creatives that end up “promoting the evil and criminal act of dowry.”
“This is such a problematic advertisement. Who passes such creatives? Is the government spending money to promote the safety aspect of a car or promoting the evil& criminal act of dowry through this ad?” Chaturvedi tweeted.
Saket Gokhale, the national spokesperson of Trinamool Congress, said it was “[d]isgusting to see Indian govt officially promoting dowry.”
The road safety advertisement was launched after Cyrus Mistry, the former chairman of Indian conglomerate Tata Sons, died in a car crash on Sunday, Gokhale alleged that the car crash occurred due to faulty road design and the government was deflecting responsibility by pushing for six airbags instead of fixing roads.
Another user wrote, “This ad is the pits.Lost the plot completely. Is this about the wedding,the bride or that dowry should be 6 airbag car-what is it? These govt ads are so puerile and ill conceived.They couldn't talk about safety any other way?”
“Only in India would the Govt spend taxpayer money to create an ad campaign promoting a punishable offence, dowry,” wrote another.
Earlier on Friday, Gadkari thanked Kumar for his support to the nationwide National Road Safety Campaign, saying his "efforts in spreading the awareness on road safety issues is truly commendable."
“We're committed to bring down road accidents in India with awareness & public participation,” he wrote on Twitter.
According to a Reuters report, Gadkari expects to finalise rules for all cars to have six airbags by the end of the current fiscal year.