Priyanka Chopra's Assam calendar controversy: Celebrity ambassadors of other states that have us confused
The Priyanka Chopra Assam tourism calendar row is just the tip of the iceberg. There's a bevy of stars who promote states they have little to do with.
Priyanka Chopra might be constantly shuttling between LA and Mumbai but her home country makes sure she's always in the news. The Quantico actress' photo on the calendar of the Assam Tourism Development Corporation has upset the opposition Congress leaders as she appears to be in a western attire instead of the state's traditional dress — mekhela chador.
While Congress legislators demand her removal as the brand ambassador of Assam tourism, a pertinent question looms large: Why are celebrities with no connections to a given state being appointed as its brand ambassador?
We curated a list of some Bollywood stars who have appointed brand ambassadors of state they "love to visit" because apparently that IS enough.
Hrithik Roshan - Maharashtra
Honestly, we think Hrithik Roshan should've been the brand ambassador of Himachal Pradesh for putting Kasauli on the tourism map (Hint: Koi Mil Gaya). He got appointed after talks with Madhuri Dixit (who is from the state) fizzled out. But in India's most good-looking superhero's defence, he had a cameo in the 2017 Marathi film Hrudayantar. Should suffice, no?
Shah Rukh Khan - West Bengal
Now we all know Didi loves SRK and SRK loves her back. Their relationship has stood the test of time and the Bengal CM is probably the only person on earth who could make SRK step into a Santro (apart from brand endorsements from 2004). The actor is also, obviously, the brand ambassador of the state and one of the owners of Kolkata Knight Riders. SRK (who is born and brought up in Delhi, by the way) often breaks into a monologue about how much he loves Delhi and misses the food in every talk show, but which state does he endorse? West Bengal. Because who cares for background checks and just general public info?
Prachi Desai - Goa
We bet the only time Prachi Desai has been to Goa is for her BFF's 21st, 22nd and 23rd. Soon after the decision was announced, Swapnil Naik, state tourism director said, "She is fit to be the brand ambassador of Goa which is visited by many youngsters. She is modern and still has traditional values." We totally understand this decision. Who else could appear in an Ekta Kapoor daily soap, and rock a crop top in a movie about the Mumbai mafia, in one life?
AR Rahman - Sikkim
After AR Rahman's appointment, Ugen T. Gyatso, Sikkim tourism minister said, “We see a bigger and better future for Sikkim and with Rahman and his versatility and graceful nature, he lives up to the affectionate nickname of Aisai Puyal’ (Music storm) as he breezes in from the south to the Himalayas, resonating his mellifluous melodies to the world. There couldn’t have been a better fit.” What he probably forgot was that Rahman hadn't had a single concert in the state before he was made the brand ambassador. He is fondly called the 'Mozart of Madras', because he is FROM Madras. What is the Sikkim government's excuse?
Amitabh Bachchan - Gujarat
In 2012, the Gujarat govt gave Sr Bachchan another reason to tweet about. He was appointed the brand ambassador of Gujarat tourism and we're figuring out why. Was it because he has himself had volunteered for it like an excited child while promoting Paa in the state? Possible.
The development came shortly before the TMC supremo boarded a flight for New Delhi to unite the Opposition against the BJP ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls
"This was retributive violence by supporters of the ruling party against supporters of the main Opposition party," the NHRC committee said in its scathing remarks
"Once in a decade, he gives a hit and gets an Oscar award," Nandamuri Balakrishna said of AR Rahman in a TV interview.