A case has been filed against Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Akshay Kumar and Ranveer Singh for what the complainant termed ‘misusing their popularity for promoting gutkha in their greed for money’. The complaint has been lodged against the four big stars by Bihar-based social activist Tamanna Hashmi.
The complainant wanted an FIR to be filed against the actors under IPC Sections 311 (punishment to a thug), 420 (cheating) and 467 and 468 (forgery).
Many actors promote tobacco through surrogate ads. It may be recalled that Amitabh and Akshay were both slammed by fans for their participation in such ads, and the Big B had terminated his contract with the concerned tobacco brand. His office released a statement that read, “When Mr Bachchan became associated with the brand, he wasn’t aware it falls under surrogate advertising.
Now, he has terminated the contract with the brand, has written to them about his termination, and has returned the money received for the promotion.”
Akshay Kumar had issued a statement saying “I am sorry. I would like to apologise to you, all my fans and well-wishers. Your reaction over the past few days has deeply affected me. While I have not and will not endorse tobacco, I respect the outpouring of your feelings in light of my association with Vimal Elaichi. With all humility, I step back. I have decided to contribute the entire endorsement fee towards a worthy cause. The brand might continue airing the ads till the legal duration of the contract that is binding upon me, but I promise to be extremely mindful in making my future choices. In return I shall forever continue to ask for your love and wishes.”
Ranveer Singh however has remained mum.
Advocate Adnan Siddiqui explains that since it is not legal to advertise tobacco products, the concerned companies resort to surrogate advertising. “Famous names were associated with these brands prior to the regulations, and when the companies market new products like sodas or shirts or mouth fresheners, people associate those advertisements with tobacco,” he says, adding that banning tobacco ads has not worked. The case is scheduled for hearing on May 27.
— Sanskriti Media...