Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jun 4:
Even as Kalinga Sena, a fringe political outfit, threatened to protest against Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan during his proposed visit to Odisha this Friday for his endorsement of Maggi Noodles, came news that the visit has been called off.
Big ‘B’ was scheduled to inaugurate the showroom of Kalyan Jewellers, a leading jewellery chain in the country, at Shahid Nagar here. Company sources said the inauguration has now been postponed without givimg any reasons for the postponement.
It is, however, believed that the cancellation of the visit has to do with the controversy over lead content in excess of permissible limits in Maggi Noodles, a Nestle India product that the superstar once endorsed.
After a Muzaffarpur court ordered the registration of an FIR against him for endorsing Maggi yesterday, the 72-year-old actor had said he will cooperate with “what the law says” while clarifying that he had not received any notice in connection with the product that he “stopped promoting” two years ago.
“I need to add that I stopped endorsing Maggi two years back. I do not endorse it anymore. I have not been related to the product anymore,” he clarified.
The iconic actor’s name has been dragged into the controversy with current brand ambassador Madhuri Dixit and former face Preity Zinta.
A case has been registered against Nestle India in a court in Barabanki in Uttar Pradesh by regulator FSDA (Food Safety and Drug Administration), after it discovered monosodium glutamate or MSG and lead in excess of the prescribed limit in Maggi samples they examined.
Kerala has already banned the sale of Maggi while Delhi banned it for 15 days yesterday. The Army too ordered its canteens not to procure or serve the product ’till further orders’.
The cancellation of Big B’s Odisha visit has robbed Kalinga Sena of an opportunity to hog the limelight.
Notably, the outfit rose to prominence after one of its activists slapped the then Team India coach Greg Chappell in 2007 for not picking any Odisha player in the Indian team.
“We would not let the Bollywood star promote any product in Odisha till he tenders an apology for having endorsed Maggi noodles,” Rath threatened.
Amitabh would have been accompanied by Telugu suprestar Nagarjuna in what would have been his second visit to Odisha.
It may be noted that Bachchan, accompanied by wife Jaya and son Abhishek, had last visited Odisha in 2010 to inaugurate ‘Brindaban Gurukul’, the music research centre set up by flute maestro Hariprasad Chaurasia.