After many twists and turns, the Government of India has confirmed that Bollywood actor Aamir Khan will no more be the face of Incredible India – A campaign initiated by India’s Tourism Ministry to endorse India globally.
Aamir Khan Was the Brand Ambassador of Incredible India Since 2009
Aamir Khan has been the face of Incredible India from 2009 when the Congress-led UPA -2 was in power and continued till yesterday until Amitabh Bachchan became the new brand ambassador of the advertising campaign.
The Actor Has Been Sacked For His Intolerance Remark!
Though Union Minister of State for Culture and Tourism Dr. Mahesh Sharma has often praised Khan for boosting the image of India, there are speculations that things changed post the actor’s November remark at an award function that his wife, Kiran Rao, had asked if they should move out of the country as she feared for the safety of their children in an “environment of intolerance.
Besides, Aamir Khan also backed writers and intellectuals who had returned National awards in the same regard, as a mark of protest, by saying that, it was “important that those in power strongly condemn what’s wrong”.
However, the minister and the tourism ministry maintains that Aamir is not the campaign ambassador mainly because his contract has expired.
Aamir Khan Was Hired Not By the Government, But by an Agency
Aamir Khan was never hired by the ministry directly. The contract was given to an agency McCann who then hired Aamir Khan – the recipient of Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri to be the brand ambassador. Renowned screenwriter and lyricist Prasoon Joshi is the chairman of McCann Worldgroup’s Asia Pacific division. If you remember Prasoon Joshi worked on few campaigns for BJP during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Although the ministry had a contract of Rs 2.69 crore with McCann for the ‘Incredible India’ campaign, the Dangal star has worked on the campaign without any fee. He never charged anything for the campaign in the past 7 years.
Incredible intolerance? Well, Not Really!
Celebrity endorsements are subject to a number of conditions, and the brand ambassadors are often dropped from campaigns and ads for various strategic reasons. For instance, even the new brand ambassador Amitabh Bachchan was dropped as an ambassador for the IIFA – International Indian Film Academy Awards.
Cosmetic giant L’Oreal Paris dropped former Miss India Aishwarya Rai, and replaced her with Slumdog Millionaire actress Frieda Pinto. Moreover, cricket maestro Sachin Tendulkar was also dropped by the Indian Air Force as its brand ambassador.
Here’s what Aamir Khan has to say about the issue –
“It has been an honour and a pleasure for me to be the Brand Ambassador for the Incredible India campaign for the past 10 years. I was happy to be of service to my country, and will always be available for it. I would like to clarify that all public service films I have done till date have all been free of any cost to me. It is always an honour for me to be of service of my country, and this is how it will always be. 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. I respect the decision of the government to discontinue with my services. I am sure they will take all appropriate steps to do what is best for the country. Whether I am brand ambassador or not, India will remain Incredible, and that’s the way it should be.”
For, all those political people calling Aamir’s ouster as an act of Intolerance, no use, because neither is Aamir a fool nor the Indians. Besides, let me give you an example if a brand ambassador of Maggi talks against Maggi, Nestle will never continue his contract no matter how incredible he is!