Amitabh Bachchan Replaces Aamir Khan In Incredible India With Different Terms Of Engagement

NEW DELHI:  Bollywood veteran Amitabh Bachchan is the new spokesperson of the government's famous Incredible India campaign to market the country to tourists abroad. Mr Bachchan, 73, is to receive a letter today, said sources, informing him of his selection for a reported three-year arrangement.

Mr Bachchan has been recruited directly by the government, unlike actor Aamir Khan, who was removed from the campaign on Wednesday evening. Amid reports that Mr Khan was being punished for suggesting recently that India is experiencing growing religious intolerance, Tourism and Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma said that the actor featured in the Incredible India campaign through an ad agency, McCann Erickson, whose contract with the government had expired.

Mr Khan yesterday, stressing that he had been the campaign spokesperson for 10 years, said, "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."

Mr Bachchan's name was reportedly suggested by the Prime Minister's Office. The superstar has featured in the past for the tourism campaign for the Prime Minister's home state of Gujarat.

"I think you need to clarify first whether he (Aamir) is being removed because of something that he may have said or it's the end of his contract. ... I don't think that people are removed just because they did not agree or said something that is controversial," Mr Bachchan said on television channels last night, according to news agency Press Trust of India.

Explaining that he has not yet been formally asked to feature in the campaign, Mr Bachchan was quoted as saying, "Nobody has asked me but if they do, yes, I would be more than willing to. I do a lot of this for a state and country and I will be happy if ever there is offer to do something."
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