Bollywood actor Aamir Khan will be no longer the face of government’s Incredible India campaign as the contract between McCann Worldwide (who hired Khan) and Ministry of Tourism has expired.
As mentioned in media reports, Union Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma, clarified that the contract with the agency for 'Atithi Devo Bhava' campaign is over. “"It was the agency which has hired him. Since the contract with the agency is no more, automatically the arrangement with the actor no longer exists,” he told media.
Controversy was triggered earlier, when Amit Malviya, BJP’s national IT and Social Media Vibhag head, tweeted on Wednesday, “Aamir Khan removed as brand ambassador of Incredible India.” The tweet has now been removed from his timeline.
This led to speculation that the removal could have been triggered by Khan’s statements on “growing intolerance” in the country. However, the Ministry moved quickly to quash these rumors and insisted that it was a case of expiration of contract.
The 'Atithi Devo Bhava' campaign was part of the Incredible India campaign to promote tourism in the country.
Prasoon Joshi, Chairman of McCann Worldwide’s Asia Pacific division, also confirmed the news with media. Reports suggest that fresh tenders will be floated to device any new campaign, if required. One news report indicated that Amitabh Bachchan could be the new face of the campaign, while others suggest that the Ministry is now looking for non-celebrity faces for the campaign.
Meanwhile Aamir Khan took the decision with a positive attitude. "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,” he is quoted as saying.