By Rabeeya Seemul Latif
According to a study carried out by Human Rights Watch, it is estimated that between 70 to 90 percent of women in Pakistan have suffered some form of abuse, and an estimated 5000 women are killed per year by domestic violence. Take a moment to think about the families of those 5000 women and how they must have felt after listening to Nawazuddin boast, “Bardasht nahi hua mujhse haath uth gaya, dhulai ki [referring to his wife]”, in the latest TVC by Kenwood.
The creators of the advertisement claim that this was just a test ad and was not supposed to go on air but it’s hard to believe this claim considering the script had to be approved before an agency would get the go-ahead to spend millions of a client’s rupees on hiring A-list celebrities and a production team to shoot this commercial. The fact that the complete commercial made it this far is shameful.
Before moving ahead, let’s understand what domestic violence really means, because some people do maintain that what was said in the TVC “was just a joke”. For eg, this lady:
How can making a joke out of domestic violence be considered okay? Apparently, Irfan Shakir thinks so too.
— irfan Shakir (@IrfanShakir2) May 6, 2017
As well as Mohammad Shoaib:
— Muhammad Shoaib (@msaksb) May 9, 2017
Domestic violence is the intentional act of physical assault, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior a person willfully does to a partner as an act of power. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, psychological violence, and emotional abuse. Please note that abuse comes in different forms and yes, emotional abuse is equally distressing.
Coming back to the TVC, it shows a group of men looking adoringly at the leader of their pack – played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui – as he sits there sharing tidbits from his marital life and delivering dialogues like, “Bhai se attitude bardasht nahi hota!”
He continues his male chauvinistic rant, “She [wife] was getting loud so I said hey…bas!” Finally, he closes the monologue on a high with, “Mera haath uth gaya dhulai ki.” All the while, his friends emit appreciative grunts. In the end, they yell, “Bhaabi agayi”, and the culprit (the husband) is scared out of his skin. Everyone laughs and the audience finally sees the product being advertised: the washing machine which does perfect “dhulai”.
“The ad was not supposed to go on air,” says the agency
The Head of Operations at Arey Wah – the ad agency which made the TVC – Kamran Sarfraz maintains, “The idea was to show a guy who makes totally wrong statements at crucial points and then he pays the price.” He also admitted that they had no intention to release it and that it, in fact got leaked on WhatsApp.
He sums up the matter with a disclaimer, “I hope people will understand what happened actually as we had no intentions to promote any sort of domestic violence.”
They even released a disclaimer after the ad went viral.
Thankfully, a lot of people out there found the TVC disturbing.
— Gharidah Farooqi (@GFarooqi) May 6, 2017
To the 20th person sharing the misogynist #Kenwood ad with an “AM I THE ONLY ONE WHO SEES IT”…. NO. You’re not. Quite a few people see it.
— Khizra (@KhizM) May 7, 2017
Domestic violence & child abuse not laughing matters.As a society we are a failure if we end up making jokes & ads based on these. #Kenwood
— Sameea Zafar (@SameeaZafar) May 6, 2017
To all the domestic violence survivors and the ones who are going through and had to watch this; We salute you and will take a stand for you whenever possible.
Here’s the Kenwood TVC which caused the stir: