After reports emerged that Aamir Khan had been removed as the brand ambassador of the government's Incredible India campaign, which snowballed into a controversy, the Ministry of Tourism recently clarified that the actor's contract had ended and that he had not been removed. The issue seems to have caught the attention of the Prime Minister's office which has asked the tourism ministry to submit a report on it.
The Indian Express reported that according to its sources, "Nripendra Mishra, Principal Secretary to the PM, called up Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma on Thursday, and asked him to provide the chronology of the campaign and the facts of the contract with the Bollywood superstar."
IE's sources added that the ministry was asked to submit the report on the same day. However, the ministry refused to confirm or deny whether the report had been sent to the PMO.
Khan on Thursday responded to the controversy in an official statement saying,
"It has been an honour and a pleasure for me to be the Brand Ambassador for the Incredible India campaign for the past 10 years. 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 of my country, and this is how it will always be.
It is the prerogative of the government to decide whether they need a brand ambassador for any campaign, and if so, who that ambassador should be. I respect the decision of the government to discontinue with my services. I am sure they will take all appropriate steps to do what is best for the country. Whether I am brand ambassador or not, India will remain Incredible, and that's the way it should be."
Meanwhile, the tourism ministry has confirmed that the government will not renew its contract with advertising agency McCann Worldgroup which had chosen the actor as the brand ambassador for the campaign. Though no formal proposal has been made yet, actor Amitabh Bachchan is said to be the governmentâ€™s first choice now as the brand ambassador of Incredible India, The Times of India reported.
Sources also told TOI that other names which are being considered as the face of the campaign are Deepika Padukone, Akshay Kumar and Priyanka Chopra.