Not endorsing Modi, only Gujarat: Amitabh Bachchan

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New Delhi:  "I'm supporting a state, not a brand of politics," says Amitabh Bachchan on his recent meeting with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

Speaking to NDTV's Barkha Dutt on The Buck Stops Here, Mr Bachchan said he was not endorsing Narendra Modi or his brand of politics; he was endorsing all the goodies that Gujarat has and need to be shown to promote tourism in the state. (Read: Modi and Bachchan: The new camaraderie)

Q: When someone like you went to Gujarat and Paa was screened for Modi and his colleagues, it suddenly became a political story because Amitabh Bachchan, who is a secular person, was seen endorsing a very controversial politician. That is how it seemed.

A: He is a CM of the state and that state is the one I want tax exemption for my movie from. I have to show it to him and to the entire cabinet and to the entire administrative staff. Nobody wrote about that the rest of the cabinet saw it as well or the entire IAS administration was invited to screen it because they have to access whether it is worthwhile the tax exemption or not. Where else do I go? And during our course, he said, 'Why don't you come and shoot your films in my state because when people see location and cinema, they tend to go there and it will be nice for our tourism.' I said fine, if there any such programs that you want to develop, I will be more than happy to do that. I have done many others in many other departments. I will do that. Now having said that, I know that you will draw conjectures so I also visited Mr Jyoti Basu in Calcutta but nobody is saying anything about that. May I also tell you that in a couple of days, I will be going to Bangalore to meet the CM there. So I don't know what conclusions will you draw, but I am going there for my tax exemptions.

Q: When you said that you were willing to be a brand ambassador for tourism in Gujarat, were you also, in a sense, endorsing the CM and his controversial politics?

A: No I am not. I am endorsing the state and the goodies it has that need to be shown for the sake of tourism.

Q: is there a difference between the two?

A: Of course, I mean I am promoting the state.

Q: But you did write something about Mr Modi on your blog that you do appreciate...

A: He told me about all the progress and I saw it. I saw nice, wide roads and the greenery all around. And yes, it impressed me.


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