Film actor Amitabh Bachchan has sent a legal notice to a pan masala company that continues to air television commercials featuring him despite the termination of the contract between them. The actor had announced his withdrawal from the Kamla Pasand campaign last month after a national anti-tobacco organisation requested him to refrain from endorsing a pan masala brand to help prevent youngsters from getting addicted to tobacco.
Bachchan was trolled on social media for modelling in the advertisement.
“Came to know from the office of Mr Bachchan, that Legal notice has been sent to Kamala Pasand, to stop Broadcasting the TV commercials with Mr Bachchan immediately… as it was noticed that despite termination of the endorsement agreement ‘Kamala Pasand’ has ignored the same and is seen to continue Airing the TV Commercials,” a source close to the actor said.
Bachchan had announced his withdrawal from the advertising campaign on his 79th birthday, saying that he was not aware that it was a kind of surrogate advertisement. Surrogate advertising is defined as a form of advertising that is used to promote banned products, like cigarettes/tobacco and alcohol, in the disguise of another product.
A statement from the actor’s office had read at the time, “Kamala Pasand … a few days after the commercial was aired, Mr Bachchan contacted the brand and stepped out of it last week. Upon checking why this sudden move – it was revealed that when Mr Bachchan became associated with the brand, he was not 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.”
A few days before the statement, the actor had responded to a social media user who had questioned his decision. He had defended his stance then, calling it a part of the entertainment business, which generates employment for many.
The commercial was released in mid-September and mentioned Kamla Pasand “silver-coated ilaichi (cardamom)”. Social media users and anti-tobacco interest groups called out the advertisement, featuring Ranveer Singh as well, almost immediately.