A local restaurant in Karachi has caused an uproar after sharing its next offer for men on social media.
It all started when Swings released an edited clip for Alia Bhatt’s latest offering, Gangubai Kathiawadi, as a promotional gimmick. In said scene from director Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Bhatt was forced into prostitution after being left behind in Kamathipura and she is obsessively trying to lure her first client.
“Aja na Raja – what are you waiting for?” the read message. “Swings call all Raja. Ajao and enjoy 25% off Men’s Monday at Swings!”
Shortly after the post was posted, many took to social media and denounced the restaurant for its demeaning and insensitive view of sexual abuse. “Ajaa na raja? What is it? It encourages sexual abuse of women and literally mocks women who are forced into prostitution. Try to be responsible,” YouTuber Daniyal Sheikh wrote while actress Sara Sarfaraz added, “I’m just wondering if you have women working in your restaurant. Do they feel safe?”
Many more took to Instagram and Facebook and left seething comments on the post. But the worst was yet to come.
Swings, a restaurant in Karachi, saw fit to use this painful scene from @aliaa08‘s Gangu Bai for promoting men’s day. Their excuses are as muted as the campaign glorifying sexual abuse and women forced into prostitution. pic.twitter.com/XY2cyl1yKD
— Niha Dagia (@nhd00) June 18, 2022
After the outrage, Swings shared a sweet apology and still hasn’t deleted the original post. In their clarification, the restaurant shared a newspaper clipping with the same photo of Bhatt as the main image, along with a title, Aray logon, itna dil pe kyun lelia? (Why the uproar?).”
The caption of said post read, “Just a concept. We didn’t mean to hurt anyone. The movie and this post are based on a concept. As before, we are open to everyone and will serve you with the same love that we have always had. “
The clarification drew more anger and many called out Swings for a troublesome marketing team and a tone-deaf statement.
The outrage is rightly deserved since Gangubai Kathiawadi – and this particular scene – depicts the plight of women who are forced into prostitution. If the “concept” of the film had not been clear, the fury could have been presented as out of place. Bhatt plays the matriarch of Kamatipura, who was traumatized and beaten after that particular scene.