A recent advertisement from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, featuring Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar, has come under flak for the wrong reasons, despite its noble intention of promoting road safety. The said advertisement is about promoting the use of cars with additional side and curtain airbags and not just cars with only two airbags. However, a section of netizens has responded by saying that the advertisement is promoting dowry culture.
— Nitin Gadkari (@nitin_gadkari) September 9, 2022
A video of the advertisement was shared by the Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari. The video portrays a father bidding her newly-wedded daughter in the ‘vidaai’ ceremony. While guiding her in a car, which is portrayed to feature only dual front airbags, the father is seen crying while bidding goodbye to her daughter. Akshay Kumar enters the scene as a policeman, who comes near the father and taunts him for sending her daughter in a car which only has two airbags, and not six. The advertisement ends with the message of making life safer by travelling in a vehicle which has six airbags on offer.
TVC to promote six airbags
While the loose message of the advertisement was to promote the use of cars with six airbags instead of two, many netizens perceived the message of the advertisement as a video which promotes dowry culture. In one of her tweets as a response to this ad, Shiv Sena MP in Rajya Sabha, Priyanka Chaturvedi, slammed the advertisement, claiming that it is such a problematic video that passes the wrong message of promoting dowry culture.
In her tweet, Priyanka Chaturvedi even criticized the government for passing such misjudging creatives and spending money on promoting the evil and criminal act of dowry instead of road safety or the safety features of a car. Saket Gokhale, the official spokesperson of the Trinamool National Congress, also commented on the issue, saying that it is disgusting to see the Indian Government promoting the wrongful practices of dowry.
Gadkari appreciated Akshay Kumar
On the other hand, Nitin Gadkari appreciated the efforts put in by Akshay Kumar for supporting his vision of promoting the sales of vehicles with six airbags, in the interest of the National Road Safety Campaign. In his statement to the media, Gadkari said that the government is committed to reducing the number of casualties in road accidents with the help of awareness and active participation of the public.
The Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways has proactively advocated the use of cars with six airbags, including the side and curtain airbags. The ministry is already working on making six airbags a mandatory feature across all passenger vehicles in India. While many have welcomed this move, some carmakers have suggested the ministry to re-think this strategy, citing the reason for the increase in manufacturing costs that can make vehicles, especially small cars, more difficult to afford.