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Amitabh Bachchan terminates contract with pan masala brand, returns fees

The actor has released a statement saying he wasn’t aware that it ‘falls under surrogate advertisi

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Mumbai: Amitabh Bachchan has dissociated himself from a pan masala brand and has returned the fees that were paid to him to promote the brand. The veteran actor who turned 79 on Monday has terminated his contract with the pan masala brand, the actor’s office said in a statement, adding that he wasn’t aware that it "falls under surrogate advertising."

This comes after the superstar had been requested by a national anti-tobacco organisation to withdraw himself from the ad campaign, which promoted pan masala, saying that it would stop youngsters from getting addicted to tobacco. His fans had also criticised the move.

An official statement released by his team read, “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 wasn’t 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,” the statement further said.

Surrogate advertising is a form of advertising which is used to promote banned products, like cigarettes and alcohol, in the disguise of another product.

Last month in the letter to Bachchan, National Organisation for Eradication of Tobacco president Shekhar Salkar had said that medical research has proved that addiction to tobacco and pan masala decays the health of the citizens, especially the youth, and said that since he (Bachchan) is the government brand ambassador for the high profile pulse polio campaign, he should drop out from the pan masala ads as soon as possible.

Earlier while responding to a fan who questioned him on social media on his endorsement of the pan masala brand, Big B had replied: (Translated in English) "If someone is getting benefitted through a business, one should not wonder why we are joining them. If there is a business, we also have to think of our business. You feel I should not have done this, however, I am also getting paid for it. Moreover, the many people working in our industry also get work and livelihood through this."

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