Monday, March 29, 2010

Congress' BIG(B) Mistake

Amitabh Bachchan certainly seems to be in the news these days. But then its hard to keep a persona like his out of the limelight for long. That is one of the many reasons why the man is the most in demand brand ambassador whatever the product; the efforts of a certain SRK notwithstanding. Big B is riding the second wave of his popularity with a whole new generation of Indian movie fanatics for all its worth. After reaching the brink of bankruptcy and having to slog his way out of a colossal debt at the age of 60, Mr Bachchan showed tremendous integrity and strength of character to repay all his debtors rather than declare bankruptcy. Its possibly the result of the memories of those bleak days, but since then, Amitabh Bachchan has firmly pursued quantity over quality. Just about any script or any product willing to meet his asking rate would get his ringing and much respected endorsement. Of course for those of us who've always put him on a pedestal, watching him plug pens and cement, was always cringe-inducing. But in a testament to his credibility his brand value has only increased.
However his latest role as Brand Ambassador for the state of Gujarat has ruffled the feathers of the powers that be in the Congress party. The stated reason, of course, is that somehow this is also an endorsement of Narendra Modi and everything he stands for. And as a result, following diktats from the High Command Mr Bachchan is now persona non grata at any Government function in a Congress ruled state. The Congress would have had a leg to stand on with this argument if they had just limited their pettiness to the Big B. However by somehow managing to remove posters of Abhishek Bachchan who was WWF's official Brand Ambassador for this year's Earth Hour from a function also attended by Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit of the Congress, the party has amply demonstrated the hollowness of its argument. This latest brouhaha is just another example of petty vindictiveness by the Congress' first family directed against an old family foe. And its really sad, although not wholly unexpected, that the rest of the spineless Congressmen fall in line so quickly against a national icon.

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