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With product endorsements, King Khan has a ‘fair’ point

Murali Gopalan Mumbai | Updated on January 17, 2018

Fair and square: Shah Rukh Khan on the ethics of fairness creams.

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So long as product is legal, he has no qualms about ‘selling it’, says the star

If Shah Rukh Khan is irked by the question, he does not show it. Given the constant debate on Emami’s ‘Fair And Handsome’ cream, does it place a greater sense of responsibility on him for endorsing it?

“If it is a product that is legal and in the market, I will never question it,” he says during an interview at suburban Film City where he has been shooting for a Hyundai commercial.

“I can prove every advertising wrong as also every film story and, if we really sit down, we can prove every product wrong,” continues Shah Rukh. Yet, as he puts it, this would not justify him perhaps ‘selling’ cigarettes. “I smoke, but it does not give me a right to use that as an excuse because I know if somebody is going to follow me selling dreams, perhaps this is not a good dream to sell,” he says.

From his point of view, he can also do without it as it will not change his whole perception of life “or my stature if I don’t do a few things”. On Fair And Handsome, Shah Rukh maintains that it is a legal product selling in the market. “And as a matter of fact, I don’t like fair. Personally, my liking is someone who is my colour,” he quips.

Why me?

In fact, his first question on endorsing the product was apparently: ‘Why are you using me? I am a wrong model, use a fair person’. Yet, as he explains, while he may like a whole lot of things in real life right from shirts to suits, there is no point being self-righteous about the Fair And Handsome association since it is a product at the end of the day.

“I just cannot keep on selling the dream that I dream of as that would be extremely boring,” counters Shah Rukh.

Simply put, while celebrities may have their personal preferences, selling those ideas in the market is a different ballgame. This is the same in films where they play out a host of characters on screen, but are completely removed from them in real life.

“Look, I play a guy out there in Baazigar, but is that my personal ideology? I am a great coach in Chak De. Yes, this is a film that has been loved, but am I like that? Obviously that is not true,” says Shah Rukh. Likewise, as he reiterates, he is not remotely like someone on screen “who woos 20 girls and falls in love with all of them”.

Yet, can this fantasy world extend to products too? According to him, there is no reason why this cannot be so. “Everyone who is selling a product is also selling a dream,” he says. He then gestures at the Hyundai setting in the studio to drive home the point. “With a car, I am selling you some aspiration, inspiration, hope, gyaan and so on,” he elaborates.

From his point of view, this is equally true for the Fair And Handsome cream. “My simple logic is that it is being sold and if it is so bad, why isn’t it stopped? If it is stopped, I would be the first guy to come forward and say that I am extremely apologetic that this was a wrong product as I did not know about it,” he says.

Where he draws the line

Shah Rukh also makes it clear that it is not his job to question what a product is about or what should be sold. He is candid enough to admit that he has no clue if a product being sold is the best either. What he is absolutely aware of, however, is that something like gutka is the wrong thing to sell because it is banned.

“I will not sell it and there are so many other products that I don’t have to or need to since it would offend my family. I need to respect yours too in that case,” says King Khan.

Published on August 11, 2016

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