Shah Rukh Khan, Bollywood’s undisputed “King Khan,” recently made headlines for reasons other than his cinematic ventures. The actor’s decision to become the brand ambassador for A23, an online rummy platform, has sparked significant controversy.
In a commercial for the platform, SRK can be heard saying, “Chalo saath khelein” (Come, let’s play together). But not everyone was in the mood for a game. The Untouch Youth Foundation didn’t take too kindly to the actor’s endorsement. Consequently, they staged a protest outside SRK’s iconic Mumbai residence, Mannat.
Behind the Protests:
A snippet of the protest action was captured by a paparazzo, which showed a noticeable police presence outside the actor’s mansion, presumably to ensure his safety.
But what’s the big fuss about?
The Untouch Youth Foundation’s grievance stems from their belief that online gaming applications, especially ones that resemble gambling, have a potentially harmful impact on the youth. They argue that these platforms, backed by the glamour and influence of top-tier Bollywood celebrities like Shah Rukh, can mislead the younger audience.
Their official statement elucidated, “Prominent actors take part in these ads, and they work to deceive the public.” Krishchandra Adal, President of the Untouch India Foundation, further added that while ordinary citizens would be penalized for engaging in public gambling activities, celebrities get a free pass when promoting them online.
Amid this controversy, Shah Rukh Khan is gearing up for the release of his next big film, “Jawan,” which is slated for a September 7 premiere. Directed by Atlee, the movie boasts a star-studded lineup including Nayanthara, Vijay Sethupathi, and Deepika Padukone.
Following the protests, several individuals were reportedly taken into police custody.
Whether this controversy will impact the reception of “Jawan” remains to be seen. But one thing’s for certain: the debate around celebrity endorsements and their societal implications is heating up in Bollywood.