India’s Bollywood film industry has challenged government antismoking laws to stop official health warnings blocking the view of its screen sirens.
The producers of next month’s long-awaited Heroine, starring leading Bollywood actress Kareena Kapoor, have sought a court ruling to stop antismoking health messages being flashed across cinema screens every time a character lights up or drags on a cigarette.
Directors and producers say constant flashing warnings that smoking is “injurious to health” are ruining key scenes in their blockbusters. The 20 second warning in the middle of the screen has been made a condition of all new films being approved by Censor Board for release. The government has also requested a health message from each of the actors seen smoking to be played in the trailers and intervals.
The producers however said the requirement was “killing creativity” in key scenes.
Veteran director Harry Baweja said smoking or drinking scenes are not used gratuitously.
“It’s a creative demand and part of the script. We don’t depict drinking or smoking scenes in our films to promote their consumption.
“We support the antismoking message in the beginning and at the end of the film but a text or video message in the middle of the drama will be a distraction for the viewers. It will break the reality element in our films. Such diktats by the government will be seen as an infringement of our right to freedom of expression,” he said.
The challenge comes amid a broader government campaign against tobacco use, including an imminent clampdown on sheesha pipe use in ‘hookah bars’. Hookah pipes, in which flavoured tobacco is sucked through water, have been used in India for centuries but have seen a revival in recent years among affluent teenagers.
This article was distributed through the NewsCred Smartwire.
Original article © The Daily Telegraph 2012
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