Bollywood super-star Amitabh Bacchhan who chose to become the brand ambassador of Gujarat tourism would begin his ad shoots from 28th of May.
The actor who received flak from some quarters for promoting a state headed by Narendra Modi – under scanner of the Supreme Court for his role in 2002 Gujarat riots – would feature in seven 60 second films for which he would charge no money from the State, officials said.
Bacchhan was the brand ambassador for Uttar Pradesh when Mulayam Singh Yadav was its Chief Minister. Organisations like MNS targeted the icon of the Indian film industry and his wife – Jaya Bacchhan (Samajwadi Party MP) for promoting Uttar Pradesh (his home state) than Maharashtra ‘which gave him the stardom’.
But soon after the campaign showcasing the Uttar Pradesh as safe and surging ahead on development, Singh lost assembly elections (2007) to Mayawati who succeeded him as the State’s Chief Minister.
Amitabh Bacchhan who would shoot in Kutch, Gir and Somnath in the first leg would cover other tourist places like Porbandar, Dwarka, Saputara, Sabarmati (Ahmedabad) later.
While Ogilvy and Mather (charging Rs 1.4 crore) is the creative agency for the campaign with the catch line – Khushboo Gujarat Ki – Rising Sun (charging Rs 2.9 crore) is the production house.
Bacchhan committed the project when he visited Modi in Januray when both attended screening of his latest film – Paa. Gujarat even made the film tax free.
The campaign targeting tourists outside Gujarat and India, and made in Hindi and English forms part of the Gujarat’s Swarnim (50 year) Celebrations which started on May 1.
Interestingly, Big B chose to promote Gujarat over Maharashtra where he lives and made his career. The Bombay state was split into Gujarat and Maharashtra in May 1960 as a result of an agitation by the Gujaratis for a separate homeland (Mahagujarat movement).