Actor Amitabh Bachchan on Wednesday underlined that his father and legendary poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan had taken on the ‘Bachchan’ surname to put across the message that stereotypes of caste and creed must be rejected by the society. He was speaking about ‘brand dharma’ at the 44th World Congress of the International Advertising Association (IAA) in Kochi.
“My father’s name was Harivansh Rai Shrivastav. The surname Shrivastav or any other surname in India traditionally means it belongs to a specific caste. The surname immediately puts a person into a classical stereotype. Yeh Brahman hai, yeh Dalit hai, yeh Kshatriya hai and so on. My father abhorred the system because it led to deep divisions among the people regardless of merit,” the actor said.
“My father shed the caste from his name and took on the name Harivansh Rai Bachchan. Bachchan became the family surname. Bachchan was my father’s brand of rejecting the stereotypes of caste and creed. I take pride in carrying forward the legacy. I am a Bachchan,” the Bollywood superstar added.
During his one-hour long address, Amitabh Bachchan dwelt extensively on his experience over the years as a brand endorser of corporate products as well as being an ambassador for public campaigns like Polio and Swacchh Bharat.
“I do not advertise alcohol, tobacco etc. That’s my dharma. I am not a master of this craft. Far from mastery, I can’t even sell a bottle of drinking water to a thirsty person without your ingenious scripts,” he said.