A video clip is doing the rounds on social media depicting a young woman engaged in playful courtship with a bearded man who is wearing a skull cap and praying. In the clip, the man can be seen removing the woman’s bindi and offering the saree-clad woman a kurta and a headscarf. A Malayalam song can be heard playing in the background of the video which ends with a logo of Skybags, with an audio clip stating “Wedding favourites from VIP bags”.

The viral video has garnered ire from social media users with several people claiming that the ‘advertisement promotes Love Jihad’ in Kerala and calling for a boycott of both VIP and Skybags products.

Readers should note that Skybags is one of the several brands of VIP Industries Ltd which is a prominent Indian luggage, bags and accessories manufacturer.

Twitter user, @virensinghk has shared the post with the caption, “BYCOTT VIP LUGGAGE TOTALLY ALL HINUDS OBJECT TO THIS ADVERTISING..THEY HAVE TO PULL DOWN THIS ADVERTISING IMMEDIATELY VIP Bags Ad in Malayalam promoting Love Jihad. Watch 42nd second..”. The post has received over 1.6K views. (Archive)

Several Twitter and Facebook users shared the clip calling for a boycott of VIP and Skybags products. (Archived tweets: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

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Fact Check

First, we did a keyword search on Twitter and found that VIP and Skybags had shared official statements saying that the viral video had nothing to with them and that their logos and brand names had been unlawfully used by the creator of the video. The notice also states that VIP Industries has filed a police complaint against the same for unauthorised usage of its names and trademarks.

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We also noted that at the end of the video, the song abruptly ended and an audio clip saying ‘Wedding favourites from VIP bags’ had been imposed on the visuals of Skybags’ logo, which stated “Skybags – MOVE IN STYLE”. This highlights that the viral video has been edited.

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Actress Sumi Rashik posted the original video on April 23rd on her Instagram handle with the caption “Soofiyum Sujathayum🌙”. The original video which has the text “സൂഫിയും സുജാതയും” (Translation: Soofiyum Sujathayum”) superimposed on it, does not depict that it is an advertisement by VIP or Skybags. The video only contains the watermark “K Captures BY KIRAN” in the top right corner. The tweet was later deleted by the actress but an original video is also available online. (Archive)

A few images were shared by the actors on the occasion of Ramzan. Vishnu K Vijayan posted images from the viral video with the caption “Eid Mubarak” while Sumi Rashik shared the post with the caption “Ramadan Kareem”.

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A closer look at the viral video reveals that there are two watermarks superimposed on it — one at the bottom saying ‘Puffington Ghost’ and the other one at the top left corner titled ‘K Captures BY KIRAN’. The latter is written in the reverse direction, which suggests that the viral video has been flipped by the creator.

It is important to note that other images of the viral clip posted by the actors also contain the watermark titled “K Captures BY KIRAN”. However, the second watermark titled “Puffington Ghost” is not present in the images shared by the actors’ official handles.

‘Puffington Ghost’ is a parody account of the media outlet ‘Huffington Post’ (but is not related to the media organisation in any way). Upon searching their social media profile, it was revealed that they had deleted their social media page. It must be noted that this is an increasing trend where many people create parody accounts of popular media organisations or celebrities.

According to a report published by Newschecker, the theme of the viral video was inspired by Naranipuzha Shanavas’ directed movie, ‘Soofiyum Sujathayum‘, starring Aditi Rao Hydari and Dev Mohan. The film revolves around a young woman named Sujata (Aditi Rao) who falls in love with a Sufi priest (played by Dev Mohan), against the will of her father.

The actor in the video, Vishnu K Vijayan, spoke to Newschecker and said, “We did not make it to promote love jihad. We did it as actors and our primary aim was to create a reel. We are co-artists working in serials. We had no intention to hurt anyone.”

Alt News also tried to reach out to both the actors and the cinematographer. This article will be updated once we receive a response from them.

To sum up, an edited video is going viral on social media, with several social media users falsely claiming that it is an official advertisement of VIP and Skybags promoting ‘love jihad’ in Kerala. However, both companies have released official statements denying the claim and filing police complaints against the same. Hence, the viral claim is baseless as the video has been edited by unlawfully using other company’s logo and trademarks.

Abira Das is an intern with Alt News.

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