Bollywood star Kangana Ranaut is unsure whether she will be named the brand ambassador to promote Himachal Pradesh tourism or not.
Kangana hails from the hill state and there has been a buzz around her refusal to sign an agreement. However, her father denies any wrongdoing.
Two days after State Tourism Development Board Vice Chairman Vijai Singh Mankotia slammed the bureaucracy for deliberately scuttling the proposal mooted by him to appoint Kangana as the state’s brand ambassador, another board member the actress for demanding a huge amount.
“After negotiations, Kangana Ranaut said that she will charge Rs.45 lakh per day and all the other expenditure, including board and lodging for the entire unit, and cost of shooting will be borne by the government,” member S.P. Katyal said.
“Therefore, it was costing more than Rs 2 crore for her single appearance. Even after this huge expenditure, the deliverables were not clear as to how many more tourists will arrive in the state after she promotes it,” he said.
Upset over the ongoing developments, Kangana’s father Amardeep Singh Ranaut blamed the state government over flip-flops.
Katyal said since Himachal Pradesh is a well-established tourist destination, the domestic tourist inflow is already touching 2 crore per year and infrastructure is to be provided to house them.
On the other hand, Vice Chairman Mankotia said that despite several rounds of talks with Kangana in Mumbai, the proposal to sign an agreement with her was deliberately delayed by the bureaucracy.
The issue turned hot on October 27 when Mankotia, after the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Board meeting that was presided over by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, said “the proposal to sign an agreement awaited government’s nod for over one and half years and now it has died its natural death”.
He lamented the bureaucracy by saying, “she too was very keen to popularise her home state, but probably the bureaucracy was not too keen on it”.
Contrary to Mankotia’s assertions, Katyal said when Kangana was approached for being brand ambassador, first of all she never responded. He said that after Mankotia’s efforts, she agreed to talk on the issue. And even after this, she took more than six months for the officials to meet her. Then finally when a meeting was arranged she was taking the department and the government for a ride.
“She asked a huge amount of money for her appearance for the tourism department,” he said.
“She was not insulted in any way, rather she inflicted insult on the people of the state by asking for huge money to promote the interests of the state,” Katyal said.
Kangana’s father Amardeep said that two state tourism department officials met her in Mumbai almost nine months back to fix the shooting schedule and the expenditure.
“After the first meeting, there was no communication from the state. I, in fact, approached the state on the insistence of my daughter as she had to fix her schedule for the state,” he said.
“She, in fact, demanded nominal charges to become the brand ambassador. Even if they (the state) had no funds, they can inform Kangana in this regard. Moreover, initially when her name was announced she was not taken into confidence,” said Amardeep, who is settled at Bhambla village near Hamirpur town, some 200 km from state capital Shimla.
“My daughter is born and brought up in Himachal Pradesh and she herself is its brand ambassador,” the aggrieved father said.
Currently, Kangana is busy in shooting director Hansal Mehta’s “Simran” in the US, he added.
By Vishal Gulati