Amitabh Bachchan has terminated his contract with a pan masala brand, saying that he wasn’t aware that it ‘falls under surrogate advertising’. This comes after he had been requested by a national anti-tobacco organization to withdraw himself from the ad campaign, which promoted pan masala, saying that it would stop youngsters from getting addicted to tobacco. His fans had also criticised the move.
An official statement has just been released, saying that Bachchan has dissociated himself from the brand. “Kamala Pasand … a few days after the commercial was aired, Mr Bachchan contacted the brand and stepped out of it last week. Upon checking why this sudden move – it was revealed that when Mr Bachchan became associated with the brand, he wasn’t aware that it falls under surrogate advertising Mr Bachchan has terminated the contract with the Brand, has written to them his termination and has returned the money received for the promotion,” the statement said.
Earlier, a letter had been addressed to Amitabh Bachchan and Shekhar Salkar, President National Organization For Tobacco Eradication, stating that pan masala impacts the health of citizens. It also added that since Big B is the government brand ambassador for the pulse polio campaign, he should drop out of pan masala ads immediately. “As an oncologist and member of an NGO working in the field of tobacco cessation, I am aggrieved and provoked to wage war against the dubious measures, such embellishment done by various influential and famous Bollywood actors like Shah Rukh Khan, Ajay Devgn, Ranveer Singh and Hrithik Roshan, leading to increased tobacco use among students,” the letter read.
Last month, Amitabh Bachchan had responded to a fan asking him why he chose to endorse the brand. He said, “If some people are getting benefits from an industry, we should not think as to ‘why am I getting associated with it?’ If it is an industry, then we too should think of it as our industry. Now, you may think that I should not be doing it, but I get paid for it.”