Film-makers fume over anti-smoking diktat

by Jenny Novac on January 30, 2012

MUMBAI: The decision of the censor board to ask the producers of Agneepath to run an anti-smoking scroll for the Chikni Chameli song has not gone down well with the industry. Many feel it is curbing their creative freedom and the producers’ body is planning to write to the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) objecting to the new decision.

Smoking Penelope Cruz

Smoking scene with Penelopa Cruz in Vicky Cristina Barcelona film

Siddharth Roy Kapur of UTV Motion Pictures said, “Producers will have to abide by the law of the land. However, it curbs creative freedom significantly and distracts the flow if one has to include anti-smoking scrolls in a movie.”

He added, “The authorities should reconsider their decision and ask for all such messages to be included at the start of the film.” The Association of Motion Pictures and Television Programme Producers (AMPTPP) is also not too happy.

“We will write to the CBFC demanding that such harsh rules should not be implemented. If the protagonist is a smoker then one can’t be running a scroll each time he lights up on screen,” AMPTPP president Ratan Jain said. The health ministry had recently issued a notification urging producers to run scroll if an actor was shown smoking in the film.

The artiste doing the scene needed to shoot an anti-smoking message. “If the notification was from the health ministry, then Katrina Kaif would have shot an anti-smoking message, which hasn’t happened in the film,” said a CBFC source

Film-maker Mahesh Bhatt has been fighting a case against the health ministry’s 2006 notification. “The censor board has the right to ask a film-maker put a warning scroll,” Bhatt said. “However, it does not mean that every time an actor smokes on screen producers will have to do what the producers of Agneepath were asked to do,” the film-maker added.

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