‘I don’t endorse the brands I don’t believe in’ says Amitabh
Ahmedabad: Megastar Amitabh Bachchan didn’t endorse Pepsi a second time because a little school girl asked him about the anachronism between what her teacher taught about the “negative things” in the cola and what the Bollywood icon said about the international brand.
“I don’t endorse alcohol and tobacco either.”
He said this to an unprecedented, at times even ‘unruly’, crowd that had jam-packed the Ravi J Mathai Auditorium at the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) to three times its capacity on Thursday afternoon. Interacting with students and others, Bachchan said he now thoroughly studies the brand and its promoter company before endorsing it. “Even my son Abhishek and his wife Aishwarya, who also endorse brands, do so.”
“We are confident that we should live a life in accordance with a brand we endorse.”
Bachchan, on his third leg of shooting for the “Khushboo Gujarat Ki” campaign, said the idea of his endorsement as the State’s tourism ambassador came as a “pure accident” when he met Chief Minister Narendra Modi with a request to exempt his film “Paa” from entertainment tax. He said he is now going to endorse other important sites in India, including Amritsar, Jaipur, Tirupati and Khajuraho. “We have so much to explore in India. It’s a pity we have not seen much,” he said, while talking about wild ass, a rare species, in Kutch.
Asked how he managed to be active at “such a young age”, the icon said he worked and learnt something everyday. “If I don’t work, I feel depressed and miss work. I will carry on until my health permits.”
Gujarat Tourism Secretary, Vipul Mittra said the Gujarat tourism campaign is now being carried internationally on lines of “Incredible India” campaign. Unlike other states promoting tourism by packing different sites in one film, the Gujarat campaign focused on one site in each film and Bachchan personally visited each of these. The campaign has attracted 44% more tourists to Gujarat.
Ogilvy and Mather chief Piyush Pandey, the brain behind the “Khushboo Gujarat Ki” campaign, joked that he managed a debut in the IIM-A through backdoor as he would not have cleared the entrance test. “For the polio campaign, I told Mr Bachchan to, once, act like an Angry Old Man, affectionately encouraging the people to protect their children from this disease, and he agreed.”
IIM-A Director Prof Ashish Nanda, who presented a memento to Bachchan, recalled the 3-D version of “Sholay” that he recently watched. “One could learn from Mr Bachchan how to grow in years, and yet remain active.”