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Poonam Singh

Alia Bhatt starrer Gangubai Kathiawadi, which tells the story of a woman forced into prostitution and later becomes a fierce fighter for women’s rights, has been gaining appreciation all over the world for showing the struggles of sex workers and their lives. However, recently, a Pakistani restaurant faced backlash online after it used a popular scene from the movie to promote a men's day at the eatery.

A Karachi-based restaurant chain 'Swing' used the heartbreaking scene from Gangubai Kathiawadi where an innocent Gangu, played by Alia, gestured to get her first customer. “Aja na Raja – what are you waiting for?” 

Using the clip, the restaurant wrote, "Aja na Raja - what are you waiting for? Swings is calling out all the Raja's out there. Ajao and avail a 25% discount on Men's Monday at Swings!" on its official Instagram page.

Swing started drawing flak online for the ad, which many found to be insensitive, disrespectful and cheap.

“You really need to look into what’s being put up here. To use a painful scene to justify whatever you’re offering is reeking of misogyny, ignorance. Do better!” a user commented. 

"Is this for real? Just the obvious msg from the scene shud v been enough let alone the subliminal msgs. What kind of promotional scheme is this?" another user wrote.

“😐 what possessed you to use this as an ad?,” another user said.

However, what was more interesting was that after being called out for using cheap marketing stargey, the restaurant defended its post and shared another post in which they shared a mock newspaper where a headline read, “Aray logon, itna dil pe kyun leliya? (why did you take this to your heart so much?)”. 

Another headline in the paper read, “Movie kare tou aag, restaurant kare tou paap (if a movie does it, it’s hot; if a restaurant does it, it’s a sin).” 

In its caption, the restaurant wrote, “Just a concept. We didn't mean to hurt the sentiments of anyone. The movie and this post is based on a concept. Like before, we're open to all and will be serving you with the same love like we always have. ♥️” 

Later, it shared another post which read, " Gaaliyon ki goonj mein ab taaliyan bajeingi 👏" with a poster of Raziabai from the movie with a caption, "Raziabai ko bhool gaye kya?"

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