Bollywood star blasts voice-over 'fake' for advert

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The Independent Online

One of India's biggest movie stars, Amitabh Bachchan, has said he is to seek copyright protection for his famed gravelly voice after a tobacco manufacturer used a sound-alike voice-over to advertise its product.

In a posting on his blog, Mr Bachchan – a Bollywood veteran who has sometimes been accused of taking himself a little too seriously – said he had been alarmed to learn from a friend that his voice, which is commonly imitated by Indian actors and comedians, had been used to sell "gutka", a mixture of chewing tobacco, crushed betel nut and spices that is hugely popular across India.

"Now, not only is this unethical and wrong, it paints me in bad light as well," wrote the 68-year-old star who advertises everything from suits and watches to the state of Gujarat.

"For someone that does not smoke or propagate smoking or any kind of intoxicant by keeping away from endorsing such products, it is most disgusting to find someone conflagrating the law of the land and the law of ethics, if ever they possessed one."

The actor, known as the Big B, added: "It does become important therefore that I take relevant steps to stop this illegal practice and introduce elements bound by contract to see that such practices are not repeated in the future... Manufacturers of products, be it a toothpaste or a car or a mobile, spend huge amounts of money and time and management to build its brand value with certain credibility. For it then to be destroyed through unfair and illegal means is not acceptable."