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A file photo of actor Amitabh Bachchan. Photo: AFP
A file photo of actor Amitabh Bachchan. Photo: AFP

Amitabh Bachchan may lead ‘Incredible India’ campaign

Govt also considering actors Akshay Kumar, Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra to be the face of the campaign

New Delhi: Actor Amitabh Bachchan, brand ambassador of Gujarat tourism, is the Narendra Modi government’s first choice as the new face of its ‘Incredible India’ campaign after actor Aamir Khan ceased to be its mascot.

“Amitabh Bachchan will be the first choice of the ministry for the job," a tourism ministry source said, adding actors Akshay Kumar, Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra are among those under consideration. He described the veteran actor as a “non-controversial" figure and noted that Bachchan was the key face for promotion of tourism in Gujarat which has seen an “upsurge" after he was hired by the state.

Khan, whose comments on perceived intolerance in the country had invited flak from the Bharatiya Janata Party, ceased to be the mascot for the campaign as the contract for it expired. “It was the (private) agency which has hired him. Since the contract with the agency is no more, automatically the arrangement with the actor no longer exists," tourism minister Mahesh Sharma had said on Wednesday.

Khan on Thursday said he respected the government’s decision to “discontinue" with his services while making it clear that he never charged anything for the ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ campaign. “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," he said in a statement.

“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," Aamir said. He added that it had been an “honour and a pleasure" for him 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 to my country, and this is how it will always be.

“... Whether I am brand ambassador or not, India will remain Incredible, and that’s the way it should be," he said.

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