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Amitabh Bachchan, daughter Shweta's first ad together criticized by bankers' union

The All-India Bank Officers' Confederation said the minute-long commercial 'hurts the sentiments of millions of personnel'.

Photo: Shutterbugs Images

Shriram Iyengar

A minute-long adv spot featuring Amitabh Bachchan and daughter Shweta Bachchan-Nanda has come in for criticism for portraying bank staff in poor light.

The advertisement, for Kalyan Jewellers, is the first time the veteran actor has featured with his daughter. 

The All-India Bank Officers' Confederation (AIBOC) has threatened to sue the jewellery brand, one of South India's largest, accusing it of 'casting aspersion and hurting the sentiments of millions of personnel'. 

The advertisement features Bachchan as an old man and Nanda as his daughter who visit a busy bank to return the excess funds deposited in his pension account. They are pushed from counter to counter, before the manager suggests the old man should simply keep the money. But Bachchan refuses, saying, "Whether anyone knows or not, what is wrong is wrong."

Bachchan had tweeted about the ad, calling it an 'emotional moment' for him.

However, the portrayal of bank officers as rude and unscrupulous has not gone down well. AIBOC general secretary Saumya Datta was quoted by the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency as saying, "We express our strong resentment against the management of Kalyan Jewellers and Mr Bachchan who have manifested a negative and false image of the banks in the ad for their personal aggrandisement. We deem it a case of defamation of all banks."

The AIBOC's statement also said, "Honesty doesn't mean when everyone is watching, rather it is about being honest when nobody is looking at you. But Mr Bachchan perhaps was unaware that in the process of doing so on screen, he has made a mockery of the entire bankers' community in the ad, which is deplorable."

Kalyan Jewellers rejected the allegation, saying it was a 'fictional' advertisement. In a statement quoted by PTI, the brand said, "We understand that your esteemed association feels that bankers have been portrayed in bad light. We state it on record that it is pure fiction and at no point have we intended to generalize bank officers at large." 

The advertisement is also being aired in Malayalam, with top star Manju Warrier replacing Bachchan-Nanda.