You may have seen this ad which Tanishq produced a few days ago. If not, take some time to have a look:
In case you don’t speak Hindi, the little girl asks the groom if she should now call him Daddy.
Tanishq is a famous, well-known and well-respected Indian jewellery company in India, established in 1994. It has a reputation for producing high quality products with a price tag to match.
So when they make an ad like this, people actually listen.
If you look at what they’re saying, it’s really quite special.
Not only are they celebrating a second (or third!) marriage for a woman, they are insisting we do too. In a society where a woman’s worth is linked to her ability to sustain a single marriage, no matter how disastrous and potentially flawed it might be, this is a very bold step.
Tanishq are of course also appealing to a new consumer set, trying to attract women who are remarrying – for whatever reason. I don’t deny that.
However, for this to air in India, there is also a strong social message.
On the one hand, an arranged marriage doesn’t always lead to wedded bliss. Not all normal, so-called ‘love’ marriages do, either. That’s an important point to make, especially in India where ‘giving up’ to get divorced is a sign of weakness, a lack of femininity on the part of a woman and of course, comes down to how she was as a wife. The husband is rarely, if ever, blamed for any marriage problems.
But I digress.
Tanishq haven’t specified the reasons for her getting married a second (or third!) time. She could have got a divorce because the marriage was unhappy; she could have been widowed; she could have been left for a multitude of reasons. I like that they’ve left it up to us to decide why.
A second bold move is their decision to cast a ‘dark-skinned’ actress. I’m hesitant to enter this debate, and frankly I didn’t even notice her skin colour until I scrolled down and read some YouTube comments.
(Normally a foolish error, I thought I’d give it a go this one time and see what the internet thought!)
Many were lauding this commercial of course, but there were so many who praised the choice of actress as much as they did the message behind the ad itself.
But I won’t go there; here’s the director of the ad, Gauri Shinde, talking about the actress’ skin colour, for India Today:
Was the use of a dusky model deliberate?
Of course not. I don’t even think that way. I don’t see these differences between dusky and fair and frankly I personally don’t even want to be part of that debate because I feel there is a complex at play; against the dusky, against the fair. It’s unnecessary. Everyone’s beautiful.
I don’t like the little girl, or the style of the ad itself, but that’s purely cultural. I think the style is rather juvenile and the actress for the child comes across as a big brat which sort of ruins it all for me!
But I’m really interested in how this ad is being received in India and how people are talking about the idea of women getting married multiple times and celebrating those marriages instead of hiding themselves.
In some areas, widows are told to wear white, to distinguish themselves from other women. In this horrible stigmatisation, it can be really difficult for women to be seen as anything more than the successes, failures or length of their marriages.
I’m going to keep an eye on this one, and I’ll let you know how it pans out!
What do you think? Was this a bold move? Did you like the ad? How about what it’s trying to say? Does Priyanka Bose’s skin colour matter? Let me know!