June 1, 2009 4:27:12 pm
Sharing Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad’s view that a blanket ban on smoking on-screen is “not practical”,Bollywood director Mahesh Bhatt said the film fraternity is with the nation in making people aware against the use of tobacco.
“I congratulate and applaud the Health Minister for his comments on smoking on-screen. Ghulam Nabi Azad is light years ahead of Ramadoss and he proved that action speaks volumes than words,” the maverick director said.
Azad had said such a restriction on smoking was not “practical” and filmmakers should first stop showing “objectionable things” such as murder and arson.
“It is just entertainment. There are so many objectionable things which are shown on screen like murder,arson and so on…Then such things should be banned first…I think we should try to implement whatever we can,” Azad had said on ‘World No Tobacco Day’.
Azad’s comment is in sharp contrast to that of former health minister Anbumani Ramadoss,who wanted a complete ban on smoking in films and TV serials.
“We are aware of the health hazards due to smoking. But there is already a Censor Board in place to check the glorification of such acts. The film fraternity is with the nation in making people aware against use of tobacco,” Bhatt said.
On the plea of Mahesh Bhatt and some other members of the film industry,the Delhi High Court had on January 23 said that smoking was a part of life and banning it would amount to the violation of the fundamental rights.
The HC had allowed Bhatt’s petition challenging the Centre’s notification and held that such restrictions imposed by the Government would hamper artistes creative acts such as film-making.
The Centre then moved the SC challenging the High Court ruling,saying scenes depicting actors puffing away would “glamorise” the social evil.
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