"This is an illegal act, inviting strong action"
You can hear his familiar baritone on the radio enticing listeners to “breathe in a bit of Gujarat.” But now, the State’s most famous brand ambassador has been confronted with an endorsement he was never part of.
A furious Amitabh Bachchan has objected to a fake online video, which started circulating on Wednesday suggesting he backed the Gujarat Chief Minister as prime minister. The 70-year-old tech-savvy star immediately went onto Twitter and Facebook to say, “FAKE! FAKE! FAKE! Appalled by this act of illegality.”
Mr. Bachchan said he participated in the Lead India campaign of a newspaper in 2007, where he had spoken in praise of the country. “Somebody has made a fake video of me, using my voice and text of what I spoke in the original and falsely and mischievously interspersed it with visuals which indicate a campaign for the promotion of the Hon Chief Minister of Gujrat, Shri Narendra Modi.”
The original Lead India video shows the actor talking about “the search for a leader who will help lay the world at our feet” and concludes by saying “the leader is among us.”
The actor has threatened to take legal action. “This is an illegal act, inviting strong action. One that I am appalled by and one that has no concurrence from me at all. This is a blatant misuse and infringement of the Copyright Act and needs to be condemned by all those that become part of this platform. Infuriated and angered!!” Mr. Bachchan said on Facebook.
The morphed video was uploaded from a YouTube account called Jitega Bharat, and has since been removed. Jitega Bharat has apologised to both to the actor and to Mr. Modi through its twitter account, claiming that the video was not its creation. “Sincere unconditional apology for reposting a video without verifying. Distress to all is regretted,” is the latest tweet. Äpologise profusely to both Mr Bachchan and Narendra Modi,” it says.
As tweets supporting the actor flew thick and fast, Mr. Modi himself stepped in, perhaps to counter an impression that the video was concocted by his media machine. “Agree with @SrBachchan. The author of the fake video should take action immediately and apologize to Amitabh ji,” Mr. Modi tweeted.
The tweet trail has now reached a Rajkot music composer, who has apologised for uploading the video on YouTube though he has also denied creating it. Music composer Utpal Jivarajani told PTI, he received the video on Mr. Bachchan on WhatsApp. “I found it very interesting so I uploaded it. But when I realised that has enraged him and our Chief Minister Narendra Modi, I apologised to both of them deleted it from YouTube,” said the composer who claims he has no political affiliations.
The busy actor — among the first to embrace social media — seems vindicated. He offered this tribute to his Facebook fans late on Wednesday night, “Thank you all my Ef Sena!! Off to bed…travel tomorrow!!