Big B first ‘chews,’ then ‘spits’ paan masala; returns payment

An NGO appealed to the actor to withdraw from promoting the pan masala brand. The actor expressed ignorance that it was under 'surrogate advertising.'

Amitabh Bachchan cancels contract with a pan masala brand. File Photo

Amitabh Bachchan has terminated his advertisement campaign for a paan masala (Kamala Pasand) brand stating that he was unaware that it falls under surrogate advertising, days after the commercial was aired. He had returned the money received for promoting it, reports said.

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

An official statement said, “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.”

Last month, the National Organization for Tobacco Eradication (an NGO) wrote to Amitabh Bachchan expressing that paan masala impacts the health of citizens. “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,” read a statement by Shekhar Salkar, President of National Organization for Tobacco Eradication.

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Also read: Over 12000 complaints about misleading advertisements on TV received in 4 years: Govt

Earlier, a top fan of Big B asked him on Facebook, “What is the need for you to advertise about a paan masala brand?” Amitabh responded, “If some people are getting benefits from an industry, we should not think as to ‘why am I getting associated with it?’ If it is an industry, then we too should think of it as our industry. Now, you may think that I should not be doing it, but I get paid for it.”

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