Actor Amitabh Bachchan. Image Credit: IANS

Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan on his 79th birthday on Monday announced that he terminated his contract with a paan masala brand, saying that he wasn’t aware that it “falls under surrogate advertising”.

A statement issued on behalf of Bachchan read: “Kamala Pasand... a few days after the commercial was aired, Mr Bachchan contacted the brand and stepped out of it last week.

“Upon checking why this sudden move it was revealed that when Mr Bachchan became associated with the brand, he wasn’t aware that it falls under surrogate advertising.”

The statement from Bachchan’s office further read: “Mr Bachchan has terminated the contract with the brand, has written to them his termination and has returned the money received for the promotion.”

The move comes after the star had been requested by a national anti-tobacco organisation to withdraw himself from the campaign, which promoted paan masala, a harmful mixture of the addictive betel nut, slaked lime, catechu and other flavouring agents.

In September, Bachchan had replied to a social media user who asked him why he chose to endorse the brand.

The cine icon had then replied: “If some people are getting benefits from an industry, we should not think as to ‘why am I getting associated with it?’ If it is an industry, then we too should think of it as our industry. Now, you may think that I should not be doing it, but I get paid for it.”