Bollywood actor Aamir Khan is no longer the face of India’s tourism campaign, Incredible India. The actor was associated with the campaign for 10 years. Speculations are rife that Khan was removed by the central government for the comments he made at Ramnath Goenka journalism awards in November 2015.
At the journalism awards event, Khan had said that he was “alarmed” over the rise in acts of intolerance in the country over the last six to eight months. This remark landed him in a controversy. Bharatiya Janatha Party (BJP) and several Hindutva outfits in the country protested against Khan, and many of Khan’s colleagues in Bollywood, like Anupam Kher, joined the clamour against the actor.
A PTI report says that Amitabh Bachchan is the first choice of the central government for the job, while Akshay Kumar, Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra are among those under consideration.
“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”, Khan stated in a press release yesterday. “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”, he said. “Whether I am brand ambassador or not, India will remain Incredible, and that’s the way it should be.”
“Our contract was with the McCann Worldwide agency. The agency had hired Aamir for the job. Now the contract with the agency is over. Ministry has not hired Aamir,” Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India news agency.
Watch Incredible India advertisement, featuring Aamir Khan, here