Why Shah Rukh Khan, Mamata di?

Shah Rukh Khan has accepted West Bengal government’s proposal to become brand ambassador of the state. But does the actor understand and, consequently, appreciate the language, the culture, the arts, the people, the terrain of Bengal?

Anant Rangaswami February 14, 2012 11:14:38 IST
Why Shah Rukh Khan, Mamata di?

Shah Rukh Khan has accepted West Bengal government’s proposal to become brand ambassador of the state. “Shah Rukh Khan has become brand ambassador of West Bengal,” Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee told reporters. Secretariat sources said that the 46-year-old actor had written a letter to the chief minister conveying his acceptance of the proposal, Firstpost reported  yesterday.

“West Bengal is my second home,” Khan said.

It’s hard to understand how West Bengal is his second home, considering his lineage has nothing to do with Bengal, he has not been born there, he has not studied there, he has not worked there, he has no Bengali connections in his marriage. His only connect to West Bengal is through his investment in IPL team Kolkata Knight Riders.

Why Shah Rukh Khan Mamata di

Will those who are targeted by communication plugging West Bengal with Shah Rukh as ambassador believe all that he says? Reuters

For a brand ambassador to be effective, there should be a natural fit between the brand (in this case, West Bengal) and the ambassador (in this case, Shah Rukh). The greater the fit, the greater the believability. Does Shah Rukh understand and, consequently, appreciate the language, the culture, the arts, the people, the terrain of West Bengal?

Will those who are targeted by communication plugging West Bengal with Shah Rukh as ambassador believe all that he says?

What West Bengal has done is to confuse ‘brand ambassador’ with ‘model’ or ‘actor’. Shah Rukh can certainly do the job of a model or actor exceedingly well, and the communication will be noticed. As a brand ambassador, though he might come a cropper.

If the West Bengal government needed a visible, popular ‘model’, they could have found many who fitted the bill – and have a direct, credible connect to West Bengal.

Here are a few – and the list is not exhaustive. Aparna Sen, Bipasha Basu, Diya Mirza (her mother is a Bengali), Hrithik Roshan (his paternal grandmother is a Bengali), actor Imran Khan (his father is Bengali), Jaya Bachchan, Kajol, Koena Mitra, Konkona Sen Sharma, Lisa Ray, Rani Mukherjee, Saif Ali Khan, Sharmila Tagore, Soha Ali Khan, Mithun Chakraborty, Norah Jones and Anoushka Shankar (father Bengali), Sushmita Sen and Shaan.

This is a Bollywood/music celeb list, based on the presumption that such a celebrity was what the West Bengal government wanted.

If you went beyond Bollywood and into sports, Leander Paes and Sourav Ganguly would so easily fit the bill.

All easy to recognise, popular achievers with a direct link to Kolkata and West Bengal. Yet the West Bengal government decides to sign on, and is delighted with, Shah Rukh Khan as brand ambassador.

It’s not that Shah Rukh will not work – any of the names listed above would work much better, as they would bring an authenticity and credibility to the messages they communicate.

Updated Date:

also read

COVID-19 updates: Bengal, Uttarakhand extend curbs with some relaxations; India logs 70,421 new cases
India

COVID-19 updates: Bengal, Uttarakhand extend curbs with some relaxations; India logs 70,421 new cases

Meanwhile, the Archaeological Survey of India issued an order stating that all centrally protected monuments, museums and sites will reopen from 16 June

TMC appoints Abhishek Banerjee as party general secretary; no decision on turncoats yet
Politics

TMC appoints Abhishek Banerjee as party general secretary; no decision on turncoats yet

Actor-turned-TMC leader Sayoni Ghosh has been made the TMC youth wing president, a post earlier held by Abhishek Banerjee since 2011

West Bengal Governor summons chief secretary over law and order situation in state
India

West Bengal Governor summons chief secretary over law and order situation in state

Jagdeep Dhankhar, who has been at odds with the state government, claimed the police has been "engaged as an extension of ruling dispensation to let loose vindictiveness on political opponents"