Big B accused of promoting superstitions in ads

Legendary actor Amitabh Bachchan has landed in trouble for allegedly promoting irrational beliefs in an advertisement.

According to reports, a social activist from Pune has accused megastar Amitabh Bachchan of promoting superstitious beliefs, and filed a complaint in a court seeking action against the Bollywood actor.

Media reports say activist Hemant Patil has demanded a police complaint against Mr Bachchan and others under the stringent new Maharashtra Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifices and Other Inhuman, Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Act, 2013.

The provocation for the complaint was the 71-year-old star’s portrayal of a ghost in a TV commercial for a children’s health drink.

Mumbai magistrate Sita Kulkarni has reportedly placed the matter for hearing on April 18.

Earlier Mr Bachchan appeared as a friendly ghost in a Bollywood movie ‘Bhootnath’, whose sequel ‘Bhootnath Returns’ is scheduled to release soon.

According to reports Patil said, “The advertisement promotes belief in the existence of ghosts and spirits and consequently the need for magic to ward them off. This is promoting false beliefs and promoting superstitions.”

He claimed that when he tried to file a complaint with the police in Bandra, they refused, forcing him to move the court.

Patil also said that the health drink company released the TV commercial without adding an appropriate disclaimer before or after the broadcast.

Mr Bachchan made his film debut in 1969 as a voice narrator in director Mrinal Sen’s National Award winning film ‘Bhuvan Shome’.

The megastar, who is known for his deep, baritone voice, has been a narrator, a playback singer, and presenter for many programmes. Renowned film director Satyajit Ray was so impressed with his voice that he wanted to use Mr Bachchan as the narrator in his unforgettable film ‘Shatranj Ke Khilari’ (1977). The actor also lent his voice as a narrator to the 2001 super hit movie ‘Lagaan’. In 2005, he lent his voice to the Oscar-winning French documentary ‘March of the Penguins’, directed by Luc Jacquet.

He got his first acting role in a movie, directed by Khwaja Ahmad Abbas, titled ‘Saat Hindustani’. He appeared as one of the seven protagonists also featuring Utpal Dutt, Madhu and Jalal Agha.

The film that saw him for the first time as the ‘angry young man’ of Bollywood cinema was ‘Zanjeer’ in 1973. Director Prakash Mehra cast him in ‘Zanjeer’ in the lead role as inspector Vijay Khanna.