Big B cuts ties with pan masala brand, returns fees

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, arguing that it would stop youngsters from getting addicted to tobacco.

Big B’s fans had also criticized the move.

In an official statement released Monday, his office said,  Bachchan, now celebrating his 79th birthday, 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.

Surrogate advertising is a form of advertising used to promote banned products like alcohol, cigarettes.

Last month, a letter was addressed to Amitabh Bachchan by the 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. The NGO’s President Shekhar Salkar wrote: “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.”

Image courtesy of (Photo courtesy Columbus Despatch)

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