Wednesday, June 01, 2005
Cinema is injurious to the health
The Indian Express reports:
In a bizarre order, the Union Health Ministry has issued directives banning all smoking scenes in films as well as on television. The government has also banned showing cigarette packs, hoardings or even using any item with a cigarette brand name on it in films.This is surreal. It's the 1984 of tobacco. I don't smoke and I disapprove of smoking around me because it irritates my once-bronchitic lungs, but this is going way too far. It also implies that smoking is a greater offence than murder or rape, because those are still allowed to be shown on screen, without statutory warning or a blurring of the screen. Ludicrous.
With these stringent rules, India becomes the first country to ban smoking on screen. Films that have already been shot and include shots of people smoking, will need to a run a scroll at the bottom of the screen, warning of the hazards of smoking.
The law also applies to foreign films or old films being re-released or shown on television. Distributors and television channels will be required to blur the screen each time an actor lights up or a cigarette brand makes a guest appearance. The horizontal warning scroll also becomes mandatory.