Today, May 31, 2023, is celebrated as World No Tobacco Day. And in the glitzy world of Bollywood, where fame and glamour collide, there have been whispers of controversy that have stirred the air. Behind the dazzling smiles and captivating performances, a handful of esteemed actors found themselves entangled in a web of criticism for their association with a notorious industry. They danced on a fine line, caught in the crossfire between their influential personas and the promotion of a harmful substance. From the iconic Shah Rukh Khan to the legendary Amitabh Bachchan, these stars faced the heat as their endorsements of tobacco-related products ignited a storm of public outcry. Step into the shadows of fame and explore the tales of intrigue surrounding Bollywood's elite and their controversial ties to an industry that left their reputations hanging in suspense.
Shah Rukh Khan
In 2016, Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan faced criticism for promoting a tobacco brand called Pan Bahar. The advertisement featured him with a can of the product, which was seen as promoting a harmful substance. Khan later clarified that he was not aware of the harmful effects associated with the brand and expressed regret for his association with it.
Saif Ali Khan
In 2011, Saif Ali Khan faced backlash for endorsing a tobacco brand called Pan Masala. The promotion of a product containing tobacco was seen as setting a negative example for his fans, especially considering his influential position as a Bollywood actor. Khan later distanced himself from the endorsement and apologized for his decision.
In 2008, actor Akshay Kumar faced criticism for endorsing a tobacco brand called Red & White cigarettes. His association with the brand drew criticism from health advocates, as smoking and tobacco use are known to have adverse health effects. Kumar later discontinued his association with the brand.
In 2005, Amitabh Bachchan received backlash for endorsing a tobacco brand, which also had ties to the tobacco industry. The association between a renowned actor like Bachchan and a tobacco-related brand was seen as problematic and contradictory to his influential status. Furthermore, in 2016, Bachchan faced criticism for promoting a pan masala brand. The promotion of a product containing tobacco was viewed as endorsing a harmful substance. This generated public outcry and raised concerns about the negative impact such endorsements could have on public health.
Prior to Akshay Kumar, Bollywood star Ranveer Singh also withdrew from an advertisement supporting a pan masala company. When asked about his affiliation, Singh said he was unaware that the advertisement he had filmed was classified as surrogate advertising. Additionally, he gave back the cash he had been paid for the endorsement.
In 2019, he faced backlash for endorsing a pan masala brand called Vimal. The promotion of the brand, which contains tobacco, was seen as endorsing a harmful substance and drew criticism from health advocates and the public. The controversy led to discussions about the responsibility of celebrities in promoting products that can have adverse health effects. Following the criticism, Ajay Devgn decided to discontinue his association with the brand.
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