Megastar Amitabh Bachchan, brand ambassador of Gujarat tourism, is the Modi government’s first choice as the new face of its ‘Incredible India’ campaign after actor Aamir Khan ceased to be its mascot.
“Amitabh Bachchan will be the first choice of the ministry for the job,” a Tourism Ministry source said, adding actors Akshay Kumar, Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra are among those under consideration.
He described the veteran actor as a “non-controversial” figure and noted that Bachchan was the key face for promotion of tourism in Gujarat which has seen an “upsurge” after he was hired by the state.
Khan, whose comments on perceived intolerance in the country had invited flak from BJP, ceased to be the mascot for the campaign as the contract for it expired.
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“It was the (private) agency which has hired him. Since the contract with the agency is no more, automatically the arrangement with the actor no longer exists,” Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma had said yesterday.
Khan today said he respected the government’s decision to “discontinue” with his services while making it clear that he never charged anything for the ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ campaign.
“It is the prerogative of the government to decide whether they need a brand ambassador for any campaign, and if so, who that ambassador should be,” he said in a statement.
When asked about Aamir’s removal as the mascot of ‘Incredible India’ campaign by news channels, Bachchan said ‘PK’ star’s contract must have ended.
“I think you need to clarify first whether he is being removed because of something that he may have said or it’s the end of his contract. I am sure that there must be some kind of difference there. I don’t think that people are removed just because they did not agree or said something that is controversial,” Bachchan said.
The actor, who has been the brand ambassador of Gujarat tourism, said he would not mind being a part of the campaign if asked.
“Nobody has asked me but if they do, yes, I would be more than willing to. I do a lot of this for a state and country and I will be happy if ever there is offer to do something,” Bachchan said.