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Official defends exit of Aamir from 'Incredible India' ad

USA-ENTERTAINMENT/ (File) Bollywood actor Aamir Khan stirred a controversy last year when he expressed "alarm and despondency" over what he saw as rising instances of intolerance in India | Reuters

Official who conceptualised 'Incredible India' ad says Aamir damaged brand India

  • If a brand ambassador says India is intolerant, he surely is not working as the brand ambassador. A brand ambassador must help promote the brand, not destroy it—DIPP secretary Amitabh Kant

Actor Aamir Khan damaged the "brand India" while being the brand ambassador of the celebrated 'Incredible India' campaign, a top official has said.

Defending the exit of Khan from the campaign, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) secretary Amitabh Kant said the actor, by terming India an intolerant country, worked against his role as the brand ambassador.

"A brand ambassador promotes a brand. People will come to India and tourist flow will increase only if the brand ambassador of 'Incredible India' promotes the country as 'incredible'," Kant told reporters on the sidelines of a convocation here on Monday night.

"But if a brand ambassador says India is intolerant, he surely is not working as the brand ambassador," Kant said.

"A brand ambassador must help promote and market the brand, not destroy it," he said while replying to a query on removal of Khan from the campaign, without taking the actor's name.

Khan has stirred a controversy after he expressed "alarm and despondency" over rising instances of intolerance in the country in the past few months and said that his wife (Kiran Rao) even asked if they should move out of India as she feared for the safety of their children.

Kant, who was involved in conceptualising Incredible India campaign in 2002 in his capacity as joint secretary, Ministry of Tourism, on Tuesday tweeted, "Being a Brand Ambassador imposes responsibilities. U can't run down what u're promoting. That's damaging d brand."

Khan actively promoted Indian tourism for a decade as the brand ambassador. Union Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma had said Aamir had a contract with advertising firm McCann Erickson and not the government for the campaign.

"Since the contract with the agency is no more, automatically the arrangement with the actor no longer exists," Sharma had said.

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