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Aamir Khan Destroyed India's Brand Identity: Amitabh Kant

19/01/2016 11:35 AM IST | Updated 04/09/2016 11:06 PM IST
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Bollywood actor Aamir Khan attends a trailer launch of his film Dhoom 3 in Mumbai, India, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013. Dhoom 3 is a Hindu action thriller film that will be released on Dec. 20. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)

NEW DELHI -- Aamir Khan continuing as the the brand ambassador of 'Incredible India' was untenable after he spoke about intolerance in India, last year, according to Amitabh Kant, a senior bureaucrat and a key driver of the campaign.

'Incredible India,' the government campaign to promote the country as a tourist destination was fronted by Khan for ten years before the Bollywood actor was replaced by Amitabh Bachchan, this month.

"Being a brand ambassador imposes responsibilities. You can't run down what you're promoting. That's damaging the brand," Kant tweeted on Tuesday morning.

Kant is also leading the Modi government's 'Make In India' campaign.

In the throes of a hugely polarising debate about rising intolerance under the Modi government, last year, Aamir Khan said that his wife had asked him whether they should leave the country. "She fears for her child. She fears about what the atmosphere around us will be. She feels scared to open the newspapers everyday," he said.

While Khan received tremendous support for his sentiment, or at the very least his freedom to speak freely, the actor also faced a massive backlash. Hindu-right wing leaders suggested that he go live in Pakistan.

Earlier this month, Khan was replaced by Bachchan as the spokesperson for the 'Incredible India' campaign.

"Whether I am brand ambassador or not, India will remain Incredible, and that's the way it should be," he said after the change was made.

Speaking on the sidelines of a public event in Ahmedabad on Monday, Kant said, "A brand ambassador promotes a brand. People will come to India and tourist flow will increase only if the brand ambassador of `Incredible India' promotes India as incredible India.But if the brand ambassador of India says India is intolerant, he is surely not working as a brand ambassador of India."

"He is damaging the brand identity of the country. People will not come to India after hearing him. An ambassador has to promote the brand, he is not supposed to destroy the brand.The brand ambassador must be the best brand ambassador for promoting and marketing India, he cannot be the destroyer of the brand," he said.

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