A video featuring Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar on a road safety campaign drew criticism online as many alleged that the advertisement promoted a punishable offence in the country, the practice of dowry. Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Friday shared a video on social media for government’s attempt to promote six airbags in cars.
In the video, a father can be seen crying at the bride’s farewell. Akshay Kumar, starring as a policeman, taunts the father for sending the newly married couple in a car that has just two airbags.
Shiv Sena leader Priyanka Chaturvedi called the advertisement “problematic”and wondered who passes such creatives that end up “promoting the evil and criminal act of dowry.”
Priyanka tweeted, “This is such a problematic advertisement. Who passes such creatives? Is the government spending money to promote the safety aspect of a car or promoting the evil and criminal act of dowry through this ad?”
The National Spokesperson of the Trinamool Congress, Saket Gokhale, said it was “disgusting to see the Indian government officially promoting dowry.”
The road safety advertisement was launched after Cyrus Mistry, the former chairman of Indian conglomerate Tata Sons, died in a car crash on Sunday. Gokhale alleged that the car crash occurred due to faulty road design and the government was deflecting responsibility by pushing for six airbags instead of fixing roads.
Another user wrote, “This ad is the pits. Lost the plot completely. Is this about the wedding,the bride or that dowry should be 6 airbag car-what is it? These govt ads are so puerile and ill conceived.They couldn’t talk about safety any other way?”
Another user wrote, “Only in India would the Govt spend taxpayer money to create an ad campaign promoting a punishable offence, dowry.”
Gadkari thanked Akshay Kumar on Friday for his support to the nationwide National Road Safety Campaign. He wrote on Twitter, “We’re committed to bring down road accidents in India with awareness and public participation.”
According to the reports, Gadkari expects to finalise rules for all cars to have six airbags by the end of the current fiscal year.