Actor Aamir Khan is controversy’s blue-eyed boy. The mega-star courts rumours and debates as no other actor in Bollywood, sending media and the social media alike, into a flurry each time. As the battle of words was escalating in Twitter and Facebook over his removal from the ‘Incredible India’ campaign, a new development came up. Bollywood veteran Amitabh Bachchan is now the face of the campaign. Mr Bachchan’s name was reportedly suggested by the PMO. In the past, the superstar has appeared for the tourism campaign for the Prime Minister’s home state of Gujarat.
However, the debate that has been raging online is that the government has sidelined Aamir Khan due to his “rising intolerance” remark in November. Less than two months back, Aamir Khan opened Pandora’s Box when he said that his wife Kiran Rao wondered whether they should leave India as she feared for the safety of the family in a climate of insecurity.
While the online debate on his “intolerant” remark was still on, a popular e-commerce site, for which Aamir Khan was the mascot, issued a statement that it had nothing to do with the actor’s remark. Netizens demanded Aamir Khan be removed from the portal for his ‘anti-national’ remark, and quietly so, the site obliged. We no longer see the actor urging us to buy stuff from the site.
The repercussions of that remark can still be felt. At a recent online survey conducted by Goonj, a social-centric online organisation, Aamir Khan was listed as the fourth most-hated Indian of 2015. For an actor, who wears his heart on his sleeve when it comes to any social cause in India, this is a big blow. The survey result is kind of a forecast as to what the actor should expect in the coming times.
Two days later, we hear that Aamir Khan is no longer the brand ambassador of the tourism ministry. The government has already washed its hands off the matter by putting the onus on the advertising agency, McCann Erickson, which had hired Aamir Khan, saying the contract with the agency has expired.
Alienating someone this way for an apparent mistake is definitely not the key to a happier India. Let’s stop censuring poor Aamir Khan for saying something that was totally misconstrued by the masses. He has rendered his heart to issues that have mattered to India. If this trend of boycotting the actor continues, it will only prove his point.