A restaurant in Karachi, Pakistan, called Swing, has been heavily criticized on social media in Pakistan for using a scene from the Bollywood movie Gangubai Kathiawadi starring Alia Bhatt to promote its men-only special offer. In its ad posted on social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook on Friday, June 17, the restaurant used a scene from Bhatt’s film to promote a special “Men’s Monday” discount, where it will be 25 percent for men only. offered a discount.
The restaurant used a scene where Alia Bhatt, who played a sex worker in the film, pictured men on the streets of Mumbai. “Aja na Raja – what are you waiting for? Swings is calling all the Rajas out there. Aajao and get a 25% discount on Men’s Monday at Swings!?” read the ad caption.
The ad was not well received by Pakistani netizens who criticized the restaurant for promoting the sexual abuse of women for cheap publicity. A Facebook user named Daniyal Sheikh wrote, “Ajaa na raja? What is this? It promotes sexual abuse of women and literally makes fun of women being forced to be prostitutes. Try to be responsible.”
One Instagram user farihaa.irrfan said: “You really have to look at what is being put here. Using a painful scene to justify what you are offering smacks of misogyny, ignorance.”
Many other social media users criticized the Pakistani restaurant for stooping so low for publicity.
To defend its ad, the restaurant posted a follow-up message saying, “It was just a concept and not meant to hurt anyone.” “Arey logon, itna dil pe kyun le liya? Movie kare tou aag, restaurant kare tou paap?” the restaurant asked. It also read: “The film and this post are based on a concept. As before, we are open to everyone and we will serve you with the same love as always.”
The so-called apology made the already evil Netizens who left the restaurant for giving such an impudent response even worse. “The film depicted a STORY of a girl who was forced into prostitution. It was not an advertisement to appeal to men and sell a product. Do you really not understand the difference? How tone deaf is it? You literally dig it deeper!” wrote one Khadija Abbas on Facebook.
“Despicable!! Boycott Swings for their sick sense of humor. I feel for the women who work in your restaurants. Wonder what they’re dealing with!” another person on social media scolded the restaurant for using a cheap PR stunt.
Alia Bhatt starter ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’ is directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and hits theaters on February 25. The film is an adaptation of Hussain Zaidi’s book ‘Mafia Queens of Mumbai’ which chronicles the life of Gangubai Kothewali, a matriarch of a brothel in Kamathipura in Mumbai.