According to Farhan Akhtar: 'Smoking in films should be looked at as a superficial prop, not a symptom of cinema's negative influence. This ban is a very scary development.
'Not because I approve of people who smoke. Certainly not! And where have Hindi films crossed limits as far as showing the heroes' smoking goes?'
'In fact I was seriously planning to introduce a character in my new film 'Don' who smoked. It would've made my job as a storyteller easier.
'In which film are the top heroes shown puffing away? Take the four most popular contemporary icons ...Barring 'Swades', in which recent film have Shah Rukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Salman Khan and Aamir Khan been shown smoking? And even if they have smoked, how does it amount to setting a wrong example?
'I seriously wonder if anyone took to smoking after Ashok Kumar puffed his way through that all-time blockbuster 'Kismet' so many decades ago? Grant the audience, and us filmmakers, enough intelligence to know the difference between right and wrong.
'Tomorrow they might decide that we shouldn't show any illness in films because it's damaging to audiences. I spoke to Ashutosh Gowariker and we've decided to take a counter-action against this absurd decision.'
Adds Gowariker: 'The ban doesn't make sense. I'm not saying that we must be allowed to show smoking or drinking just for the heck of it.
'But to believe that banning on screen smoking will change the audiences' outlook is a bit far-fetched. What seems more practical and purposeful is to ban smoking in hospitals, auditoriums and government offices.
'In fact it should be banned in all government-endorsed places because passive smoking is greatly discomforting to people who don't smoke.
'But in cinema? It doesn't make any difference to the audience if a person is shown smoking or drinking on screen. Yes, someone out there might be influenced into smoking. But then someone else might be influenced into killing someone or into eloping. That doesn't mean we should stop making gangster films or love stories.
'My immediate concern is how will I show characters smoking the hookah during the Mughal period in my film 'Jodha-Akbar'. So I'd like the authorities to revoke the ban and let the smoke fill the screen.'
Karan Johar in the US is disbelieving. 'I can't believe such a regulation is going to be imposed. Tomorrow they might say, don't show characters wearing black clothes or white clothes, or don't show them having babies because that would provoke members of the audience to have sex.
'Filmmakers always devise characters according to the need of the script. What's this about smoking or not-smoking? Isn't it all relative?'
Arjun Rampal has the last word. 'Why just ban smoking in films? Ban it everywhere. Ban tobacco sales.'
22 Jan 2019 08:38:46
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22 Jan 2019 05:47:09