The advertisement is of a kind you have seen a thousand times on Indian television -- a beautiful woman uses a bar of soap in the shower, usually in slow motion, and emerges looking fresh, glamorous, and miraculously, light-skinned.
But it wasn't just any other advertisement for 67-year-old K Chaathu who hails from Mananthavady, Wayanad district in Kerala, because the state's favourite star, Mammootty, was endorsing the 'fairness soap'.
After using the soap by popular Kerala brand Indulekha for over a year, when Chaathu didn't see any difference in his skin tone, he decided to take action.
Chaathu, a sculptor by profession, approached the consumer court at Wayanad in September 2015 and claimed a compensation of Rs 50,000 from both Indulekha as well as National Award-winning actor Mammootty, because the so-called 'fairness soap' had failed to produce desired result.
"Mammooty is a big star. We trust him. Because he says Indulekha soap makes dark people fair, lot of people use it. I used it for a long time, but, nothing happened. I am still dark. What they say in these advertisements are nothing but white lies," Chaathu told IBNLive.
“Maybe because of immense star worship most of my villagers believe what celebrities say. I have heard them saying may be that product is good otherwise Mammootty or Mohanlal will not act in the ad. I think many fans trust their celebrities, so they should be more responsible...” Chaathu said.
Finally, the Kerala-based brand which was recently bought by Hindustan Uniliver decided to settle the matter outside court by paying Chaathu Rs 30,000 as compensation.
In recent times, there have been instances where actors have borne the brunt of the company's defaults and vice-versa; for example when a man tried to sue Aamir Khan for the late delivery of his TV which he had ordered through online shopping portal Snapdeal. On the other hand, the brand Snapdeal had faced a lot of criticism for Khan's comments on rising intolerance in India.
The government also seems to have take special interest in big celebrities endorsements. For example, on Monday, Delhi government wrote to Bollywood actors Ajay Devgan, Shah Rukh Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Govinda, Arbaaz Khan and Sunny Leone, urging them not to endorse pan masala products as they contain areca nuts, a potential cancer causing agent.
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