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Amitabh Bachchan : ‘This nonsense has been going on for too long’voice and image being used for frauds and illegal commercial use

Amitabh Bachchan in a sill from Sooraj Barjatya’s Uunchai.

Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan is back in the news. On Friday, the Delhi High Court passed an interim order that the actor’s ‘photo, voice and name’ will not be used without permission. It added that the actor is known by face across the globe and his representation could lead to ‘irreparable loss and harm’ and even bring disrepute to him.

“The plaintiff is aggrieved by the defendants using his celebrity status to promote their own goods and services without his permission or authorisation. Having considered the plaint, I am of the opinion that a prima facie case is made out,” the court said.

After the order was passed, many wondered what led to Amitabh Bachchan seeking the court for this restraining order. As argued by advocate Harish Salve, who appeared for the actor, the suit was filed after it was seen that mobile application developers were conducting lotteries by unlawfully associating it with Kaun Banega Crorepati, and Big B’s name and image being used by book publishers, T-shirt vendors and other businesses.Salve pointed out that while some people were running a lottery using Bachchan’s name and the KBC logo, others were selling T-shirts with his image. “This nonsense has been going on for a while…there is a lottery in Gujarat where the defendant has brazenly copied (the) logo of KBC where his photographs are all over it…it appears to be scam…There is no lottery…no one wins,” the advocate said. He added that there was also an Amitabh Bachchan video call facility, where the caller could speak to a person who sounded like the superstar.

Bachchan and his team of lawyers sought to protect his image arguing against the unlawful infringement of his personality and publicity rights. Through this, an individual can control the commercial use of their name, image and identity. After the order was passed, the HC also directed the telecom ministry to ensure all violated content flagged by Big B’s team is removed, and the violators are reported.

A number of fraud calls are made to scam people using Amitabh Bachchan’s voice. The scamsters make gullible people deposit huge amounts of money under the pretext of GST for winning a KBC lottery. Sometimes they are also made to believe they have won the chance to be on KBC hot seat and make them share confidential details, leading to financial fraud. The host, during a number of episodes of Kaun Banega Crorepati, has often warned people to be aware, and not fall for such scams.Other similar incidents include the Uunchai actor sending a legal notice to a pan masala brand last year after it continued to air TV commercials featuring him despite the termination of the contract. He announced his withdrawal from the Kamla Pasand campaign in October (2020) after a national anti-tobacco organization requested him to refrain from endorsing a pan masala brand to help prevent youngsters from getting addicted to tobacco.In 2017, the actor had also threatened to send a legal notice to AAP leader and poet Kumar Vishwas, for ‘copyright infringement’. The poet had uploaded a video reciting a poem written by Harivansh Rai Bachchan. As fans tagged the star on the video, he posted on social media, “This is a copyright infringement. Legal will take care of this”.

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