MUMBAI: Indian megastar Amitabh Bachchan's comments praising Gita Gopinath's beauty during a recent episode of Kaun Banega Crorepati may have floored the International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief but many on social media took offence to the remark.
On January 22, Gopinath took to Twitter and shared a clip from the aforementioned game show, in which Bachchan asked the candidate on the hot seat to identify the person shown on the screen.
''The economist seen in this image has been the chief economist of which organisation since 2019,'' the veteran actor asked as Ms Gopinath's image was displayed on the screen.
He then said, ''Her face is so beautiful that no one can relate her to the economy'', before listing out the four options to the contestant.
An elated Gopinath said in her post she has been a fan of Bachchan for a long time and the video will always remain special to her.
"Ok, I don't think I will ever get over this. As a HUGE fan of Big B @Sr- Bachchan, the Greatest of All Time, this is special!'' she posted. However, not many were impressed by Bachchan's remark during the episode as they found it to be "sexist'' and one that links beauty with brains.
"'Her face is so beautiful that nobody would associate her with the economy' - says Amitabh Bachchan on Gita Gopinath, the head of IMF. Gita Gopinath should've returned the compliment by saying, 'His brain is so small that nobody would associate him with intelligence','' tweeted one user.
Another user posted, "Amitabh Bachchan said Gita Gopinath's face is so beautiful that no one will associate it with Economics.
Meanings - 1. Females in Economics are not good looking. 2. Good looking females cannot be economists.
3. Beauty and brains don't go together. 4. I am a patriarchal idiot.'' "So sad he just had to mention your looks while pointing to your earned achievement. Bet you he wouldn't have made a mention if, say, @raghuramrajan or @kaushikcbasu were on the screen,'' read another tweet. Some believed Gopinath being okay with Bachchan's remark was equally problematic as they said it normalised casual sexism and patriarchy. "Blatant sexism displayed by @Sr- Bachchan 2. Perfect example of women enabling patriarchy displayed by @GitaGopinath,'' read one post.
Another user said, "This is the reason sexism will exist forever. It is so normalised even some of the most brilliant women don't identify it and call it out.'' As much as I appreciate the humbleness of @Gita- Gopinath in response to the statement made by @ SrBachchan, it saddens me to hear a sexist comment from an icon who I idolize for his contribution to the entertainment industry,'' a user tweeted.
However, there were also some people who defended Bachchan's remarks and Gopinath's fangirl response.
"He just appreciated a beautiful face with an intelligent mind. Beauty appeals to all be it a flower, a city, bird or human being. Anybody would be flabbergasted to receive a comment from Amitabh sir,'' a user tweeted.
Another said, "He didn't mention it. I believe he just had to add this compliment because he thought people who don't know her could easily presume a celebrity.'' In an overnight post, Bachchan seemingly addressed the controversy, saying that he made the comment about Gopinath's looks in "utmost earnestness''.
"Thank you Gita Gopinath ji. I meant every word I said about you on the show .. said in utmost earnestness,'' he wrote on a fan's post who shared the video of the episode. - PTI