A day after the government confirmed that he is no longer a part of its vast Incredible India campaign, actor Aamir Khan said, “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.”
Khan, 50, triggered a controversy in November over stating his concern that religious intolerance was growing in India.
Tourism and Culture minister Mahesh Sharma in an attempt to counter reports that the actor was being punished for those remarks, said that the superstar would not feature in the massive campaign to market India with foreign and other tourists. This is because the government’s contract (reportedly worth nearly Rs. 3 crores) with advertising agency McCann Erickson had expired, and it was the agency which had arranged for Khan’s participation.
“I would like to clarify that all public service films I have done till date have all been free of any cost to me,”Khan said in a statement today, stressing that he has been part of the Incredible India campaign for 10 years.
In November, Khan expressed his concern about intolerance towards minorities.
Political and other opponents have accused the BJP and its supporters of whipping up religious tensions in different parts of the country. This allegation was firmly rebutted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ministers who say parties like the Congress are trying to discredit the central government.
In September, a man in Dadri in Uttar Pradesh was lynched to death after being falsely accused of having beef in his home; rationalist MM Kalburgi was shot dead in Karnataka a few weeks before that.
Asha Parekh lobbying for a Padma Bushan award
It’s a known fact that Bollywood and politics always go hand in hand. But, what happened at a recent function in Nagpur has not only raised many eyebrows, but left many in a state of shock and disbelief.
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari ‘revealed’ that veteran Bollywood actress Asha Parekh had approached him seeking recommendation for the (prestigious) Padma Bhushan award. Speaking about it he said, “We receive so many letters for Padmashree and Padma Bhushan. I have sent around thousand recommendations until now. So many people now want Padmashree and Padma Bhushan. One actress met me; she has turned old...Asha Parekh. She came to meet me in Mumbai. The lift to my residence was not working, she climbed up 12 floors, I felt very bad. I asked her why she took the trouble. She said, ‘I have received Padmashree Nitinji, now I want Padma Bhushan’. I said, ‘You have received Padmashree, it is like Padma Bhushan’. She said ‘No’. She said she has done so many films. Asha Parekh is a big name truly but somewhere she felt that she should get Padma Bhushan.”
Gadkari also added that he was being ‘chased’ for such (award) recommendations and that giving away Padma awards has become a ‘headache’ these days.
Readers may note that Asha Parekh was conferred with the prestigious ‘Padmashree’ award in 1992 and also the ‘Lifetime Achievement’ award in 2014 for her contribution in Indian film industry.
Ashutosh Gowariker to make Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
After Hollywood’s recreated version of the fairytale, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Snow White and the Huntsman), the story of this princess has got many Bollywood filmmakers intrigued. One of them is popular filmmaker Ashutosh Gowariker.
Gowariker who has made period dramas like Lagaan and Jodhaa Akbar, has decided to make a film on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. However, the details of the film are still being kept under wraps and the casting process for the same will kick start soon. As of now, the director is completely focusing on the Hrithik Roshan starrer Mohenjo Daro which has been in the making since the start of 2015. This film too is a period drama set during an ancient era. Not just that, yet another director duo have expressed their interest in making the Indian adaptation of the Snow White fairytale. Vinay and Radhika who had previously directed Lucky: No Time For Love, will be adapting the story which will be twisted a bit to suit the taste of the Indian audience. They will be adding their own interpretation of the story.
Sushant replaced by Arjun in Half Girlfriend
While we recently got a glimpse of Arjun Kapoor in the recently released image of Ki And Ka, the actor is also simultaneously preparing for his next. Arjun Kapoor has stepped into the shoes of the leading man in Half Girlfriend, after Sushant Singh Rajput walked out of the Mohit Suri directorial.
Just few weeks ago, Mohit was going on about working with Rajput but the latter had to quit this film owing to the clash of dates with Dinesh Vijan’s romantic drama.
And now, the makers who were on a hunt for the protagonist have finally decided to rope in Arjun. From what we hear, Arjun who is also shooting for the reality show Khatron Ke Khiladi has already started preparing for the role and taking Bhojpuri lessons. The film revolves around the love story of Madhav and Riya with linguistic issues as the backdrop.
Also, a couple of days ago we had reported that Shraddha Kapoor has been roped in to play the leading lady in this film. Readers may also be aware that Half Girlfriend is an adaptation of the Chetan Bhagat novel by the same name. Produced by Balaji Films, Half Girlfriend will be extensively shot in Mumbai, New York, London and in Bihar. The film is slated to go on floor in February this year.
DID YOU KNOW?
FARHAN’S RIDING LESSONS
Farhan Akhtar learned to drive a car at the age of 22 but did not know how to ride a bike until he signed Karthik Calling Karthik for which he had to learn riding.