I&B Ministry to investigate DD Kisan-Bachchan controversy
Amitabh Bachchan denied charging money for the promotion of Doordarshan Kisan channel. Subsequently, Arun Jaitley, the I&B Minister ordered a strict investigation into the matter. I&B Ministry have stated that given that Prasar Bharati had paid the sum of Rs 6.31 crore to Lowe Lintas for promotional work, the matter needs to be probed as to why and how the money was paid.
After DD Kisan, a Doordarshan channel dedicated to the farmer population of India faced steeply declining TRP's, Prasar Bharati roped in Amitabh Bachchan to become the ambassador of the channel as a strategy to popularize it. The 'acting legend' reportedly had demanded an exorbitant amount of Rs 6.31 crore for a year, the most expensive endorsement deal for the actor till date.
The ad campaign required Amitabh Bachchan to shoot for a day which would be played on TV, outdoor, print, radio, internet and cinema platforms till 30 April 2016.
"We felt the channel required a celebrity and also found that Mr. Bachchan had a strong connect with rural India," said Ranjan Bharti, Additional Director-General of Prasar Bharati. However, since the inception of the news, the media has been thoroughly critical about the entire issue. It stated that the condition of farmers and the rate of farmer suicides cannot be helped by Mr. Bachchan.
The media has reported that before deciding on Amitabh Bachchan, the channel had considered Ajay Devgan, Kajol and Salman Khan, as they felt that they all had 'connections to the soil'.
An official statement from Mr. Bachchan stated that although he has worked with Lowe Lintas on the ad campaign for DD Kisan, he did not enter into any contract with Prasar Bharati. He also denied the acceptance of any money for it. "I work pro bono on various issues and DD Kisan is one of them," Mr. Bachchan said.
During the Mulayam Singh government, Amitabh Bachchan had got himself registered as a farmer for acquiring land in Muzzafarnagar, UP. Later, he had also bought lands in Pune as a farmer. However in 2007, a court in Faizalabad (U.P) declared him as not a farmer.
A few hours after the official statement, Lintas, the ad agency stated that they were unaware about Mr. Bachchan's decision to work pro bono until then. Lintas clarified that the actor had not been paid until then because the contract hadn't been concrete. Lintas stated that they have initiated the process to refund the money collected for Mr. Bachchan's celebrity endorsement to DD Kisan.