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West Bengal govt ropes in SRK to shoot tourism ad campaign ‘for free’

Shah Rukh Khan would be calling all to ‘Experience Bengal... the sweetest part of India’ — the tagline of the campaign.

Written by Arshad Ali | Kolkata | Updated: December 18, 2015 10:19:36 am
srk, shah rukh khan, shahrukh khan, mamata banerjee, west bengal, bengal, bengal tourism, west bengal news, srk news, india news Shah Rukh Khan will visit Kolkata in January 2016 to shoot six ad films for the campaign. (Express Archive)

DRAWING inspiration from the successful Gujarat tourism campaign by megastar Amitabh Bachchan, the West Bengal tourism department is all set to feature Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan in its ad campaign to be shot next month where the superstar would be calling all to ‘Experience Bengal… the sweetest part of India’ — the tagline of the campaign.

Shah Rukh, the brand ambassador of Bengal, will visit Kolkata in January 2016 to shoot six ad films for the campaign, mostly of 30 seconds each. Some of these ads will also feature Tollywood actor Deb.

While O&M in its three-year contract would charge Rs 75 lakh per annum, it was found out that Shah Rukh would do the campaign for free. “We had sent an inquiry to Shah Rukh’s office and they have recently replied that he would do it for free. Of course we will pay for the travel, food accommodation and his entourage,” said A R Bardhan, principal secretary, West Bengal tourism department.

While the main clip would be of 45 seconds, there will be five others of 30 seconds each. highlighting places such as Darjeeling, Dooars, Digha, Sunderbans and a heritage site. Khan would, however, not go for any outdoor shoot. Besides, O&M will also help in boosting the campaign on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Bardhan said compared to the budget allocation for 2013-14 of Rs 180 crore on tourism, the state has sanctioned Rs 210 crore for the current financial year of which 75 per cent has already been spent. “Other than the campaign, there will also be developmental work carried out at major tourist destinations. Again during the ‘Destination East’ campaign coming next year, we will bring in 120 foreign tour operators and travel bloggers from countries such as Germany, France, UK, Spain, USA, Canada and Singapore. It will be done in association with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in the first week of February 2016,” Bardhan added.

The West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation would also spend Rs 4 crore mainly on improving the variety and quality of food and proper management of facilities. There are also plans to incentivise home stay projects especially at major tourist destinations such as Dooars and Darjeeling. “Residents who would want to upgrade their property would have to do it according to our specifications and would get an incentive of up to Rs 5 lakh for a maximum of six units of additional rooms,” Bardhan said.

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