There was a time when brand endorsements were strictly no-no for our movie stars who believed that featuring in a commercial would hamper their market viability. Not anymore, now they fight for ad space.
And they are not just selling products. They are also promoting sport and supporting causes, campaigning for gays and championing a state. Larger-than-life on screen, these matinee idols are finally using their name and famous faces to sell more than soaps, shampoos and soft drinks. Jingle on to learn on…
UP se Gujarat tak
Big B was the brand ambassador for Uttar Pradesh only a few election seasons ago. But that was when Mulayam Singh Yadav was bade bhai. Today, with another brother, Amar Singh out of favour with the Yadav camp, Bachchan has turned his sights to a state nearer home, Narendra Modi’s Gujarat.
Recently, during a special screening of his film Paa in Gandhinagar, a smiling Bachchan made the announcement in the presence of Gujarat’s CM saying, “I’m ready to give my voice and face for the promotion of Gujarat tourism.”
Modi reacted to the generous offer with a smile of his own saying his government would take an initiative soon in preparing special documentaries with Bachchan to promote Gujarat’s progress in various fields.
Wonder what will happen to Mulayam Singh Yadav’s UP now?
Wrestling support for kushti
On Republic Day, he will be the chief guest at a wrestling contest organised by politician Sanjay Nirupam. “I’m always there to promote any sport that has not been given its due importance,” asserts Shetty, pointing out that cricket is the only sport that gets enough mileage in our country.
Talking about the competition, he says that this is not small in any respect anymore. Last year it was held at Andheri Sports Complex and had an audience of over a lakh. The participants came from across the country. This year too a huge turnout is expected.
“India’s Sushil Kumar won a medal at the last Olympics but despite that there’s been no encouragement for wrestling. Hopefully, my involvement will help spark some interest,” says the actor. Although he’s not yet the official brand ambassador for this wrestling competition, Shetty asserts he’s game for the role if its offered to him.
Saving young lives
He’s been known to champion the cause of the underdog, whether it was the victims of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy or those affected by the Sardar Sarovar Dam project in Gujarat or the weavers in Chanderi. So it was no surprise to hear that he will be the face for Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the Bombay Psychiatry Society (BPS)’s ‘Life is Beautiful’ campign that will be launched soon to arrest the sudden spate of student suicide across the state.
Additional Commissioner of BMC requested his help and goodwill ambassador Khan was quick to give his nod. “We’ve not had a chance to work on the creatives yet but from what I understand, the exam months between January to April report the maximum cases of suicide. Education should be a jouyful journey and not give stress,” points out the actor, admitting that he went through his own share of sress which is why he wants to help youngsters today.
He adds, “In my last two films, Taare Zameen Par and 3 Idiots, I’ve been trying to address the issues affecting our education system. Both movies took two years each to complete so I’ve given four years of my life to this cause already.”
Kick starting the Winter Olympics
Akshay Kumar is the Indian brand ambassador for 2010 Winter Olympics to be held in Vancouver, Canada, from February 12 to February 28. Last month, he went to Ontario, the province he was allotted, to run with the torch. This was his first time as a torch-bearer and third as the ambassador.
Point to be noted is that while barely a few will follow the games next month, three athletes from India will be participating, Shiva Kesavan, Tashi Lundup and Jamyang Namgial. Maybe that’s why Kumar says that he “was honoured to represent India at a global level”.
The actor, who is known for his martial arts skills, also promoted Karate at the First Karate Championship held in Andheri, last year. He believes that martial arts need to be promoted more in the country. “I will and I always have endorsed a sport I truly believe in and something I have sufficient knowledge about, like martial arts,” he said.
Celina Jaitly has, for a while now, been persuasively supporting gay rights, campaigning for the repealing of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which criminalised homosexuality. After the Supreme Court legalised same-sex relationship, an ecstatic Jaitly asserted, “This is the face of modern India. Most people don't know what homosexuality is and yet threaten me for supporting it. Being a homosexual, doesn’t make you professionally less; people’s nature shouldn’t be judged according to their sexuality.”
Taking her support further, Jaitly ensured that Bombay Dost, India’s first gay magazine, that went out of print in 2002 due to lack of funds, was revived last year. She even put her money into the publication that she sees as a “a platform on which people from the gay community can bond.”
A few days prior to the release of 3 Idiots, Madhavan took off to Bangkok to help build houses for needy Thais. Confused? No, the actor hasn’t suddenly turned into an architect, it was a commitment to Habitat for Humanity, an organisation dedicated to the homeless.
John Abraham too is associated with the program supported by former US President, Jimmy Carter. Abraham is also the brand ambassador for UEFA. Agreed the hunky actor is crazy about the game and played ball in his movie Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal, but how many Indians really care for an European Football Championship?