Up in smoke
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Disclaimers before-and-after film apart, mandatory banner warnings during smoking scenes are a violation of creative rights
– Kabir Bedi, Actor
Early last week, the Central Government informed the Supreme Court that it is introducing a new notification regarding the depiction of smoking scenes in films and television programmes that would override all earlier notifications issued by Union ministries of the Health and the Information & Broadcasting.
At the time of going to press, film-makers were awaiting the new notification to regulate smoking scenes in their films. It seems, the new notification, to be issued on September 14, will include an altered version of instructions stated in a letter dated August 2, 2012, from the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting to the Central Board of Film Certification. An excerpt from this letter read, "CBFC is requested to advise the film-makers to ensure the following: (i) A 20 second anti-smoking message as approved by Ministry of Health with voice-over of one of the actors who is seen smoking in the film to be displayed at the beginning and in middle (after interval) of the film. (ii) A static anti-smoking message to be displayed for the duration of the smoking scene in the film."
Commenting on the issue, Karan Malhotra, director of Agneepath, a movie which featured smoking scenes said, "I just think that it is sad. That's all I can say. I think there are better ways of preventing people from turning into smokers."
Actor Kabir Bedi recently tweeted, "Disclaimers before-and-after film apart, mandatory banner warnings during smoking scenes are a violation of creative rights. It breaks attention." Bedi later also tweeted that anti-smoking warnings during smoking scenes in films will distract viewers and disrupt the story telling.
With inputs from PTI
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