Veteran actor Amitabh Bachchan will not charge fees while endorsing for Doordarshan Kisan, following a furore on the social media over the high amount of his fees, which prompted Mr Bachchan's office to amend the previous contract with Doordarshan and to work pro-bono.
Initially, it was reported that Mr Bachchan's office had agreed on a consideration of Rs 6.31 crore for endorsing the television channel which would focus on poor farmers and their issues.
Lowe Lintas, the agency representing Doordarshan Kisan, did not mention the amount, but confirmed that Mr Bachchan's office had agreed to change the previous contract subsequently.
"Yesterday ( July 20, 2015) afternoon, we received formal communication from his (Mr Bachchan's) office, that upon reviewing the work-in-progress contract with his team, Mr Bachchan had taken a decision on principle, that he will not charge any fee on issues involving social causes and those that are in the best interest of the nation and a request to Lintas to treat all conversations and discussions on the contract so far as null and void," said a spokesperson for Lintas.
The change in stance may have been initiated after an outburst of opinions on social media - Mr Bachchan himself is an active follower on such platforms - where people reacted to the high fees for promoting farmers.
Lintas said that DD Kisan had authorised the agency on March 31, to negotiate on their behalf with Mr Bachchan's office. "This was gone about (sic) with utmost transparency amongst all three parties involved. After much negotiation, Mr Bachchan's office on 12.05.15 sent communication to Lintas on the fee approval. Post receipt of this communication from Mr Bachchan's office, we sent the necessary paperwork to DD Kisan who then went ahead with the processing and release of the payment to Lintas," said the agency spokesperson.
"We welcome his (Mr Bachchan's) yesterday's decision to do the work for DD Kisan "pro-bono". In light of yesterday's development, we have initiated the process of refund ( which will be concluded today ) to our client, DD Kisan, for the amount collected for Mr Bachchan's celebrity endorsement which was pending payment to him since the contract was still under discussion and not yet signed off," the Lintas spokesperson added.
Lintas is one of India's leading advertising agencies and represents more than 250 clients, including blue chip Indian and multi-national companies.