Priyanka Chopra was in India recently to promote Assam and shared many photos on her social media handles, praising the tourism and the people of the state, under the hashtag #AwesomeAssam. Though this shouldn’t come as a surprise as Priyanka was the special one chosen as the brand ambassador of the state, what might be surprising is that the two years that she has been its celebrity face, the actress has visited the state all of twice.
While this was dubbed as Priyanka’s disinterest, her PR machinery has now been working overtime spreading stories about how she was dedicating time to Assam.
A thoroughly miffed Assam government now had to drag the actress over to the state to fulfill her promises, the result of which is photographs of her splashed all over, showing her visiting the state to shoot a tourism ad. The actress has been shown in bright, traditional attire, complete with ethnic jewellery, playing a local attending a good friend’s wedding in the state. The ad, shot by reputable ad-filmmaker Lloyd Baptista, aims to showcase all facets of the state’s culture and scenic beauty. This time, officials ensured Priyanka was in the state for two whole days.
Interestingly, even though the actress has coolly pocketed the hefty fee paid for being the ambassador, she has given little back to Assam. “Last year, she went to Assam for just one day. That, too, was utilised for a press conference and a photo session. She did not even have enough time to shoot for the ad campaign, which ended up being shot at the Yash Raj studio and not in the state. The ad, predictably, drew a lot of flak, with the government being bitterly criticised for paying good money to someone who was not even interested in the state,” says a source.
This year the authorities decided enough was enough. “Priyanka and her entire team were flown from the US to Mumbai in first class. She was then flown to Jorhat (Assam) on a chartered flight. The plane was parked at the small airport for two days, at Priyanka’s disposal, allegedly costing the state around `75 lakh!” adds the appalled source. What’s more, the actress was flown back to US as soon as her shoot was done!
The unhappy Assamese have now taken to comparing veteran actor Amitabh Bachchan, who seems to have been far more vocal about his role as Gujarat’s brand ambassador.
Shah Rukh Khan is said to have taken around Rs 30 crore for promoting Dubai, but not a penny for being the brand ambassador for West Bengal. While the West Bengal government gifted Shah Rukh a flat worth Rs 2.5 crore in Rajarhat, Kolkata, SRK politely declined, saying it was his duty to do everything he could for the country.
John Abraham is the tourism ambassador of Arunachal Pradesh. He has visited the state to shoot for promotional ads and has repeatedly spoken about the northeast. He also owns the Northeast United football club.
Amitabh Bachchan reportedly does not charge any fee for promoting Gujarat. The Gujarat government is on record with that fact.
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