| GEO Entertainment|
| Now, Aamir to teach civic sense|
| Updated at: 1125 PST, Saturday, July 31, 2010|
MUMBAI: The Union Tourism Ministry is banking on a credible brand to reinforce the image of “Incredible India.” And ahead of the Commonwealth Games, the Ministry has roped in actor Aamir Khan to give lessons in civic sense.
The actor, who has become the face of the Ministry's “Atithi Devo Bhava” campaign, will soon be seen preaching the merits of manners. In soon-to-be released spots on television and radio, he will take on litterbugs and the practice of urinating and spitting in public places.
Two commercials, scripted by adman and lyricist Prasoon Joshi and directed by film maker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, will focus on the ubiquitous problems of littering and sullying public spaces.
“The new films are showing what we tend to otherwise brush under the carpet. The common problems of people littering and urinating in public are being shown and Aamir is helping us take forward the message that these evils need to be collectively tackled,” said a senior Ministry official.
Describing the ads as “refreshingly different,” the official said: “We are comparing situations. Just as there is a hall of fame, there is a hall of shame. The two ads are woven around the evils of littering, spitting and urinating in public.”
On the decision to rope in Aamir, the official said: “We wanted someone with credibility, someone who people look up to and listen to. And who better than Aamir, who also brings his creative genius to the table. He is full of ideas, and together with Joshi and Mehra, the entire creative unit comes up with a brilliant product.”
Aaamir, along with Joshi and Mehra, has waived off his fee. “They are all working gratis. And it really reflects their commitment to the issues,” said Ramma Luthra, managing director of F.S. Advertising Limited, that has put together the campaign.
“Commonwealth Games is the time when India should be ready to welcome tourists. Heaps of garbage, stinking public places, defaced monuments and people spitting on the roads – these are some of the problems that have to be eradicated. To bolster the country's image, to boost the tourism industry, we have to instil a sense of pride and civic sense in our people. Aamir was our only choice to showcase the country's culture and hospitality and also to spread the word about civic sense,” said Ms. Luthra.
The films featuring Aamir will also be shown in schools to garner the involvement of children in cleaning up the country. “Children play a vital role in campaigns, and we intend to instil a sense of pride in them. Through the movie we are soliciting their help in spreading the message of sanitation and hygiene,” she said.