This jewellery ad might seem normal, but it caused a huge stir in India

A non-Indian could easily watch this commercial for Tanishq jewellery and miss all of the subtlety.

In it, a beautiful woman prepares for her wedding and puts on her Tanishq necklace. At the ceremony, her daughter impatiently calls out to her. She’s asking if she can participate in the pheras, a ceremony in which the couple walks around a fire seven times as they say their vows. The groom is moved by the girl and scoops her up, filling his bride with emotion.

What’s special about the ad is that a sharp viewer can tell the marriage is the second one for both the bride and groom. Historically, divorced or widowed men are outcasts in Indian culture, making the ad a sharp break from tradition. Indian viewers are also talking about the bride’s relatively dark complexion, a turn away from the country’s mainstream obsession with light-skinned lead actresses.

Here’s the ad:

The commercial has sparked a conversation on Twitter, prompting celebrities and politicians to weigh in. Parliament member and industrialist Naveen Jindal praised the bride’s “dusky” skin tone and the non-traditional marriage:

Lowe Lintas India created the ad with filmmaker Gauri Shinde. The team carefully chose the actors to ensure their couple would look like one of respectable equals, creative director Arun Iyer told Mint. Traditional-minded Indians might otherwise have assumed that the woman was marrying the divorced or widowed man out of pity.

The creative team also wanted the ceremony to appear modest, because “We didn’t want it to look like we were trying to make a point.”

But they were, and they did.

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