Videos edited to falsely suggest Bollywood actors 'promoted India's Congress party in 2024 election'

Videos of Bollywood actors Aamir Khan and Ranveer Singh have been manipulated to falsely claim that they endorsed India's main opposition Congress party in the 2024 elections. AFP found the videos -- which the actors have reported to the police -- were edited from old interviews to insert fake audio that imitated their voices. Neither of the men has publicly endorsed the Congress party ahead of parliamentary elections, which started on April 19.

The clips circulated online as the world's biggest democracy began a six-week election, with 968 million people eligible to cast their ballots.

The edited video of Aamir Khan was shared in an X post here on April 16, 2024. 

The Indian Muslim star appears to refer to an election rally speech made in 2014 by then-prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi where he said every citizen could receive 1.5million rupees if the South Asian nation recovered billions stolen by former leaders and industrialists.

Later, some Indian opposition leaders -- including Congress leader Rahul Gandhi -- criticised Modi for making "false promises" (archived link). 

Khan appears to say in the clip: “Friends, if you think that India is a poor country, then you are absolutely wrong.

"Because every citizen here is a millionaire. Everyone should have 15 lakh rupees (1.5 million) in their pocket. What would you say if you don't have this amount? So where did your 15 lakh rupees go? Be careful of false promises otherwise, you will be in trouble." 

At the end of the video, the Congress party's election symbol appears alongside a message appealing for votes. 

The post's Hindi-language caption translates to English as, “Don't you have 15 lakhs? Where did your Rs 15 lakh go? Be careful of catchphrases. Don't stop RT."

Screenshot of the false post, taken on April 24, 2024

The manipulated video was shared elsewhere with false claims on Facebook and X.  

Senior Police Inspector Mohan Mane of Khar police station told AFP that officers had launched an investigation after the actor reported that an old clip of him had been edited to insert the endorsement message.

"The video is being digitally edited and shared with false claims," he said. "We are investigating the matter." 

According to the Hindustan Times, Khan's legal advisor Huzvak Batliwalla told police, “After watching it, we concluded the visuals were taken out of an old video of his, with the voice-over possibly being patched with the help of artificial intelligence” (archived link). 

A keyword search on YouTube found the unedited footage published on August 30, 2016, by the verified channel of Satyamev Jayate, a well-known Indian TV show that Khan hosted (archived links here and here.)

In the original footage, Khan said, "Friends, every citizen of India should have one crore rupees ($120,000), if you do not have it then where have your money gone? Find out on our show this Sunday at 11am."

He did not refer to "false promises" or endorse any political party. 

Below is a screenshot comparison of the false post video (left) and the Satyamev Jayate YouTube video (right):

Screenshot comparison of the false post video (left) and the Satyamev Jayate YouTube video (right)

Ranveer Singh clip

Separately, actor Ranveer Singh also filed a report with police after his interview with Delhi-based Asian News International (ANI) agency was edited to falsely suggest he had endorsed the Congress party.

The video -- shared here on X on April 18, 2024 -- appears to show the actor saying, "Modi's aim is to celebrate our miserable life, unemployment and inflation.

"India is moving very fast towards the era of injustice. But we should never forget the demand for development and justice, hence think and vote."

At the end of the clip, a message appears appealing to people to vote for the Congress party.


A keyword search found the longer version of the original video was uploaded on X by ANI on April 14, 2024 (archived link). 

Below is a screenshot comparison of the video that appears in false posts (left) and the original video published by ANI (right):


In the Hindi-language video, Singh spoke about spirituality and the importance of the holy city of Varanasi during a visit to a Hindu temple there on April 14.

In the clip, Singh said: "I am feeling very energetic today after coming to the holy city of Varanasi. Modi ji's aim was to celebrate our culture and tradition. Today India is rapidly moving towards modernity but we should never forget our cultural roots."

He did not endorse Congress or criticise Modi in the original footage.

The Indian Express reported that Singh's legal team had filed a report to police in Mumbai over the video (archived link). 

Singh posted on X on April 19 that the video was manipulated, saying, “Avoid deepfakes friends” (archived link). 


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