Days after the war of words between actress Urmila Matondkar and Kangana Ranaut took an ugly turn, some so-called ‘liberals’ took to Twitter on Friday to attack the Indian milk brand Amul over a 1995 advertisement.
The ad, created 25 years ago, was dedicated to actress Urmila Matondkar for her performance in the movie ‘Rangeela’. The illustration depicted the actress in the iconic red dress and reminded the audience of her role as a child actress in the movie ‘Masoom’ (1983). As such, the ad was accompanied by the caption “Not Masoom Anymore? Rangeela Makkhan.”
It is notable here that Urmila, as a child artist, had played the endearing role of a little girl in the acclaimed movie ‘Masoom’ in 1983. After that, though she had appeared in a Hindi movie named Narasimha as an adult, the 1995 movie Rangeela by Ram Gopal Verma was a big success and Urmila had become a household name for the glamorous role.
The 1995 Amul poster was alluding to Urmila’s journey from ‘Masoom’ to ‘Rangeela’.
However, liberals jumped the gun, assuming the advertisement to be a recent ‘jibe’ on Urmila Matondkar based on the ‘soft-porn actress’ comment of Kangana Ranaut. ‘Journalist’ Swati Chaturvedi wrote, “Am sorry Amul, this is absolutely disgusting. When did you join the IT cell.” On being pointed out by director Anurag Kashyap that the illustration was old, she was quick to delete her tweet without tendering an apology.
Film maker Anurag Kashyap had pointed out to Swati that the image is old and not an insult against Urmila as being claimed by many.
Accusing Amul of maligning the image of its founder Dr. Verghese Kurien, journalist Mrinal Pande tweeted, “Drown yourself if you have some same left in you, Amul. You should have thought before maligning the image of the father of the White Revolution – Dr Kurien.” On being informed by a Twitter that the Amul ad dated back to 1995, she justified, “Old or new, what’s disgusting remains disgusting!!”
Another twitter user named Abshar tweeted, “What a fall Amul.” In subsequent tweets, he reiterated that the illustration was ‘legit’ and not ‘photoshopped.’
Journalist with Hindustan Times, Deepanjana, too posted the advertisement with misleading claims. She was however quick to delete her tweet, on learning that the illustration was old. She emphasised, “Doesn’t really make the ad any better or more humorous but it is definitely not a response to the current ‘conversation’ around Urmila Matondkar.”
Deleted the Amul ad because it seems the ad is an old one (from when Rangeela was released). Doesn’t really make the ad any better or more humorous but it is definitely not a response to the current ‘conversation’ around Urmila Matondkar.— Deepanjana (@dpanjana) September 18, 2020
Shiv Sena sympathiser, Anagha Acharya, tweeted, “Disgusting! Not expected from Amul Corporation at all. Amul should apologise.”
Casting aspersions on the reputation of India’s largest milk brand, a popular Twitter user (@TheSocialDilema) made bizarre claims, “Probably Amul is promoting pedophilia, and this promotion may be the part of “Cutie” movie. A disgust level of capitalism.” Even after finding out the truth, he did not bother to tender apology or delete his misleading claims.
Probably Amul is promoting pedophilia, and this promotion may be the part of “Cutie” movie. A disgust level of capitalism. pic.twitter.com/FOdOnEXw59— Charasāz™/ چارەساز (@TheSocialDilema) September 18, 2020
The Boycott Amul Campaign
This is not the first time that Amul had come under attack from liberals. Chief Editor of Sudarshan News, Suresh Chavhanke, had earlier announced about a programme on ‘bureaucracy jihad’ and ‘UPSC Jihad’. Sharing a snippet of his program, Suresh said, “Imagine jihadis from Jamia becoming your district commissioner and secretaries in every ministry.”
After the controversial video was posted, it attacked criticism from various sides, notably from left-liberals and Islamists. It was alleged that Suresh Chavhanke is spreading hate against Muslims, and leftist portals started publishing articles criticising him and his channel and started targeting the brand Amul, over the fact that it advertises on the channel.
However, despite the hate it got, Amul received overwhelming support from netizens who swear by the brand which is synonymous to quality and hard work of thousands of small and marginalised animal husbandry workers across the state. In fact, during the nationwide lockdown at the outbreak of Chinese coronavirus, Amul pumped in Rs 8,000 crore back into rural economy.
When the government announced lockdown, Amul communicated with all the stakeholders. They managed to keep the supply chain up and running as the Ministry of Home Affairs and local administrations helped them in every possible way. There were some hiccups in the process that were dealt with by Amul and administration.