Recently, the State Bank of India released two new ad campaigns aimed to promote SBI Card’s online shopping festive offer, ‘Dumdaar Dus’ that commenced on 3rd October 2021. Both ad campaigns featuring actor Javed Jaaferi intended to give a peek into SBI Card’s festive offer. However, one of the ads has drawn flak from Netizens for caricaturing South Indians.
In the commercial, actor-comedian Javed Jaaferi is portrayed as a South Indian tabla instructor, teaching a group of children. Along with vibhuti on his forehead and traditional attire, the ad-makers visibly darkened the actor’s skin tone and gave him a curly hairdo, which miffed social media users.
Scientist and author Anand Ranganathan took to Twitter to slam the ad. He said, “A curly haired, buck-toothed, vibhuthi sporting muppet with a clownish accent – just how long will you carry on stereotyping us South Indians through such buffoonery. Mehmood began the damn trend with Padosan. It continues 50 years on”.
A curly haired, buck-toothed, vibhuthi sporting muppet with a clownish accent – just how long will you carry on stereotyping us South Indians through such buffoonery.
— Anand Ranganathan (@ARanganathan72) October 5, 2021
The Netizens fumed at SBI for stereotyping the South Indians. Arun Pudur, the founder and group president of Celframe Corporation slammed the country’s largest public-sector bank for making a racist advertisement.
Disgusting stereotyping South Indians as Curly hair clowns. Much worst is using a Hindu hating & serial abuser Javeed Jafazri as ambassador.
What an utter shame @TheOfficialSBI
— Arun Pudur (@arunpudur) October 5, 2021
He also slammed the bank for choosing actor Javed Jaaferi as its brand ambassador, whom he called a serial abuser.
“Disgusting stereotyping South Indians as Curly hair clowns. Much worst is using a Hindu hating & serial abuser Javeed Jafazri as ambassador. What an utter shame @TheOfficialSBI”. Tagging the chairman of SBI, Rajnish Kumar and India’s finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, the businessman questioned the working of India’s public sector banks.
Here it may be recalled, how in January, last year, Javed Jaaferi was called out for posting a tweet where he made a shocking comment that India has become the most dangerous place to live in. Jaaferi had said that this had been found in a survey, and he had quoted a report by an obscure Pakistani website to make the claim.
Meanwhile, another angry Twitter user replied to Arun Pudur’s Tweet by claiming that this ad would compel him to close his account with SBI.
— Punitha 🇮🇳 (@punithabm) October 5, 2021
Fuming at the bank’s campaign, a Twitter user asked “All Citizens from other Religions should close their Accounts with this Sharia bank”.
— Kruti 🇮🇳 (@jalebi9) November 30, 2014
Similarly, another Twitter user wrote: “Shame on you SBI and Javed Jaffery for the racist Ad – We South India proud out skin Tone – Culture and traditions – When will Bigots like you will stop Rascism against South Indians – When was last time you met a South India like in the Ad – SBI Shame on you”.
People on YouTube were also not impressed with SBI for the ad, typecasting South Indians.
Despite, attracting the wrath of Netizens, SBI has not yet issued an official statement regarding its recent ad campaign.