Aug. 22: A purportedly fake YouTube video suggesting Amitabh Bachchan was endorsing Narendra Modi as the next Prime Minister brought a lawsuit threat from the actor last night, prompting the man who admitted he uploaded it to offer to apologise.
Even Modi had earlier endorsed the film star’s outrage, expressed in a series of tweets.
“Agree with @SrBachchan. The author of the fake video should take action immediately and apologize to Amitabh ji,” the Gujarat chief minister posted on Twitter this morning.
The YouTube login handle “Jitega Bharat”, from which Bachchan said the video was uploaded on August 10, was today traced to a Rajkot-based ayurvedic practitioner and music director, Utpal Jivrajani.
“I did not make the video,” Jivrajani told The Telegraph. “I only received the video on Whatsapp and uploaded it. I removed the video this morning.”
He added: “Since I have hurt the sentiments of someone like Amitabh Bachchan, I would like to personally apologise to him. I will travel to Mumbai tomorrow to meet him and tender an apology.”
In his tweets, Bachchan had provided a link to the video but it seemed to have been removed today.
Bachchan said he was “infuriated and angered” after discovering the video, where he is heard talking about India’s progress while Modi’s picture keeps popping up in the background.
The 70-year-old star, who faced the anger of Congress supporters in 2010 after signing up as brand ambassador for the Gujarat government’s tourism initiative, said the video had manipulated a voiceover he had done for an ad campaign for a newspaper in 2007.
Bachchan has stayed away from active politics since quitting his Lok Sabha seat in the aftermath of the Bofors scandal a quarter-century ago.
The actor, known to tweet to his followers close to midnight every day, created a flutter on the microblogging site when he wrote last night: “Fake!! Fake!! Fake!! Appalled and angered by this illegal act on me..putting up now. Do read and see and condemn..!!!”
He added: “Dear all... Fake video circulation... In the year 2007, I did a ‘Lead India’ campaign for The Times of India, where we talked of the glorification of the country and India! Somebody has made a fake video by using my voice and text of what I spoke in the original, and falsely and mischievously, interspersed it with visuals which indicate a campaign for the promotion of the Hon Chief Minister of Gujarat, Shri Narendra Modi!!”
According to Bachchan, the video was uploaded with the message: “Amitabh Bachchan voicing aspirations of India to move beyond Failed CONgress-led UPA! ...”
The actor described it as “an illegal act, inviting strong action” and threatened legal action. “I have brought this to the notice of the concerned authorities, and asked my Digital Team to find out its origin so that we can initiate action against the perpetrator,” he tweeted.
“This is a blatant misuse and infringement of the Copyright Act, and needs to be condemned by all those that become a part of this platform. (I am) infuriated and angered !!”
His tweets were re-tweeted by his followers and fans with demands that strong action be taken.
Jivrajani is one half of the Shailesh-Utpal music director duo who have been part of 40-odd Gujarati films. The pair is well known in the Saurashtra region, Gujarat film industry sources said.