Bollywood actor Aamir Khan will no longer be seen welcoming travellers to India with the slogan 'Atithi devo bhava', as the Lagaan star has ceased to be the mascot for the 'Incredible India!' campaign after 10 years.
According to TV news reports, actor Amitabh Bachchan has been chosen as the new face for the campaign.
The decision has come only a couple of months after Khan and his wife Kiran Rao voiced their opinions about growing intolerance in India.
In November, Khan had stated that his wife Rao had asked him if they should move out of India, as she was worried about the safety of their children in an intolerant and insecure society.
The tourism ministry, however, on Wednesday said they had not hired the actor, but an agency had.
"Our contract was with the McCann Worldwide agency for Atithi Devo Bhava campaign. The agency had hired Aamir for the job. Now the contract with the agency is over. The ministry has not hired Aamir. It was the agency which has hired him. Since the contract with the agency is no more, automatically the arrangement with the actor no longer exists," Union Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma told PTI on Thursday.
Unperturbed, Khan dismissed the slew of theories that were making rounds on social media by simply saying:
I respect the decision of the government to discontinue with my services: Aamir Khan on Incredible India contract— ANI (@ANI_news) January 7, 2016
It is prerogative of govt to decide whether they need brand ambassador for any campaign,and if so, who that ambassador should be: Aamir Khan— ANI (@ANI_news) January 7, 2016
Whether I am brand ambassador or not, India will remain Incredible, and that's the way it should be: Aamir Khan— ANI (@ANI_news) January 7, 2016
In fact, according to a report in PTI, Khan also said that whatever commercials he had shot and the work he had done for the Incredible India campaign, was done free of charge.
"I was happy to be of service to my country, and will always be available for it. I would like to clarify that all public service films I have done till date have all been free of any cost to me. It is always an honour for me to be of service to my country, and this is how it will always be," he said.
(With inputs from PTI)
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