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Wednesday Mar 14 2018

FAKE NEWS: Indian media claims Afghan refugee's photo is Amitabh's look for new film

Afghan refugee Shabuz, then 68 years old, in Pakistan. Photo: Steve McCurry's Instagram account (@stevemccurryofficial). Actor Amitabh Bachchan attends the 'The Great Gatsby' world premiere at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York, US, May 1, 2013. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/Files

KARACHI: Is it Amitabh Bachchan in his new movie, Thugs of Hindostan? Or is it a common man — an Afghan refugee to be precise — from Pakistan?

It is the latter!

Reputable Indian media outlets reported Tuesday night that the image is of Bollywood’s Big B, in what they say appears to be a leaked, behind-the-scenes photograph from the set of Thugs of Hindostan.

Interestingly, the outlets are also diving into great details about Bachchan’s make-up, his attire, and how he has been styled specifically for the upcoming film.

But, alas, that is not true!

The stunning portrait of this Afghan refugee was captured by famed photographer Steve McCurry, who originally shared this image on his Instagram account on January 27, 2017.

“I made this portrait of Shabuz, age 68, an Afghan refugee in Pakistan. Many Afghans use only one name,” McCurry wrote in the image caption on Instagram.

McCurry rose to international fame for the "Afghan Girl", an iconic photograph he shot in 1984 that has appeared in the National Geographic magazine.

Indian media outlets went as far as to praise the make-up artists for doing a fine job, making statements such as “our jaws are still on the floor”, “the man looks completely unrecognizable”, and “the make-up artists completely take the cake with this one”, wondering how “Big B look(s) completely unrecognizable?”

Requests for comments to McCurry/his team and Magnum Photos, of which McCurry is a member, by are yet to be responded to.

The 'Fake News' plague

Fake news has lately become quite a prevalent issue that has caused great concerns among celebrities, politicians, and the general public.

Numerous notable personalities, including US President Donald Trump and Pakistani politician Imran Khan, have shared news reports that later turned out to be bogus.

In an attempt to tackle this ever-expanding problem, Egypt, China, and Britain, among other countries, have set up units and teams to monitor news reports.

Further, according to Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, a Pakistani politician, misinformation or fake news can have dangerous consequences. French President Emmanuel Macron, on the other hand, has expressed his wish to create an anti-fake news law.

"Fake News" was also said to be 2017's word of the year.

The author works for and tweets @haseemuzzaman


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