Minister of Culture Mahesh Sharma made a faux pas at an event here when he addressed New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key as “McCullum”.
The event was organized to promote New Zealand tourism in India and, apart from Sharma and Key, Brendon McCullum, who earlier skippered that country’s cricket team in all three forms of the game, was also present.
The gaffe happened when Sharma began his speech, addressing Key as “His excellency Prime Minister McCullum”.
Moments after the minister made the blunder, Bollywood actor Sidharth Malhotra, who is New Zealand tourism’s ambassador in India, rose to speak but could not recall Sharma’s name. After fumbling for a few seconds, he said wittily “It’s payback time”.
The event was aimed at promoting cultural exchanges between the two countries and, ignoring the mix up, Key said New Zealand is looking forward to having more Indian tourists visiting the nation.
He said getting Malhotra on board was their way of attracting youngsters from India to visit the country which is one of the best destinations for adventure and nature tourism.
Malhotra, who visited New Zealand last year to shoot some promotional videos, was presented an All Blacks (rugby team) jeresy by the Prime Minister and, to honour the foreign dignitary on his India visit, the actor gifted him a handmade lion depicting confidence and power. The 31-year-old actor will be travelling across New Zealand for around 10 days to shoot a new set of promotional videos.