Surf Excel Ad Celebrating Hindu-Muslim Unity Also Won Hearts

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Despite the backlash on social media and #boycottsurfexcel campaign running on social media, Hindustan Unilever refrains from pulling down the ad film

Shabina Akhtar | Caravan Daily

NEW DELHI — While this year’s Holi ad film by the Surf Excel drawing flaks from some sections of the society, it has also been praised by a large number of people considering the ad in right earnest.

The Hindustan Unilever might have rolled out its Surf Excel’s ‘Rang Laaye Sang’ campaign with the intention of spreading communal harmony as the ad film shows a girl pleading her friends to exhaust their colour-filled buckets to make way for her friend all set for namaz.

But the ad film has irked a section of social media users to give the ad campaign a communal twist with many even going ahead to say that big corporate house shoves ideas of partial secularism down the throat of an average Indian. Many even started the #BoycottSurfExcel campaign and even went on to give poor ratings to Surf Excel.

Interestingly, Microsoft Excel had to bear the brunt of the sudden rage, as many unable to figure out the correct ‘Excel’.

Reacting to the sudden outrage, Rekha Singh, a Jaipur-based entrepreneur said, “It’s all about being creative. We can dictate terms to scriptwriters and artists. I have watched the ad and didn’t find it to be communally offensive. I quite liked the concept of spreading peace and harmony this Holi.”

On being asked about the love-jihad angle that many are hinting at, she said, “I don’t want to comment much on that. But let me tell you a simple thing – children these days are very smart. Also, this ad brings out what inherently lies in the heart of every Indian – love, peace, and harmony.”

However, Kolkata-based Tathagatha Chaudhary, founder of Theatrician was of the opinion that the company could have refrained from this concept of the ad film, given the controversy and bad blood its drawing on social media.

He said, “I am of this opinion as the very concept of this ad would make the children differentiating among themselves. Such national ads need to be made in a sensitive way, as the makers need to understand that such a concept is bound to be criticised.”

Adding a new dimension to the entire debate was Rohith Krishnan Harikrishnan. He wrote on Quora, “I don’t find anything offensive in Surf Excel ad. I don’t know on what basis they are saying it is love jihad or anything. I perceived that the girl is the didi of that “Muslim” (but human for me) boy. The children are shown to have respect for the boy by not throwing colour at him as he’s going for his namaz. No propaganda can kill my logical thinking.”

Perhaps, Rohith’s logical thinking is what everyone needs to borrow at a time when India’s secular fabric is being shredded to bits.

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