Wednesday, June 01, 2005

No Smoking, Please !!

Did you like the way the character of Mallik Bhai lights up cigarette after cigarette, in the movie Company? Did you appreciate Rituporno Ghosh's genius, when the chieft protagonist of Raincoat, keeps smoking nervously & restlessly, while trying to lie to his old-flame? Did u just adore when Amitabh delivered those dialogue in Don, with a cigarette in his left hand?

Well, these are going to be things of the past now. Not only that, As part of a new regulation by Indian Govt, the following rules will come into effect starting August 1 2005.

  • Actors will not be shown smoking on the screen
  • Showing of cigarette packs, hoardings with cigarette advertisement, any item with a cigarette brand name cant be shown in a movie
  • Films that have already been shot and include scenes of smoking, will need to run a scroll on the bottom of the screen, warning about the hazards of smoking
  • Foreign Films/Old movies shown on television, will have to blur the screen each time an actor lights up a cigarette. The horizontal warning scroll will accompany the blurring.

So now, when you watch Broken Arrow again & John Travolta makes his dashing entry, you will only see a blur. Hmmm... The reason? Film Actors have a lasting impression on the mind of minors and young adults. So when they see their screen idols lighting up on screen, they tend to follow suit.

Bullshit, I would say. This could have been true in 60s and 70s when cigarettes were not so common. One did not see so many people smoking. So anactor, seen with a cigarette in his hand, could have left a negative impact on the mind of a young one. But consider the situation now. A lot of people smoke these days. Before watching his first movie, a minor is very likely to witness a neighbour, a family member, a teacher or a friend smoking. Then how come banning smoking scenes in a movie is going to help the issue?

I dont have any intention of glorifying cigarettes or smokers. Neverthless, I have to admit that I dont know any smoker (including yours truly) who has picked up his habit, after watching a movie. On the other hand, there are several other negative impacts that movies leave behind. When they show the actors wearing fashionable clothes & using trendy accessories, young teenagers often make demands to their parents for the same. This probably creates a bigger dent in the pockets of middle class parents. There are more instances of teenagers being affected (with a direct impact on their parents' purses) by the unnecessary display of fashion accessories, than teenagers resorting to smoking as a result of watching a movie.

I believe the Govt is merely wasting its time enforcing a totally unnecessary regulation. Some think-tank in the South Block has probably put his brain into an over-drive to come out with such a ridiculous idea. Whats the idea of banning the the scenes of cigarettes/smoking, when nudity, murder, rape etc are shown widely & uncensored, in movies & television?

Finally, a quote from Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, that always comes to my mind at the mention of smoking.

"I like to think of fire held in a man's hand. Fire, a dangerous force, tamed at his fingertips. I often wonder about the hours when a man sits alone, watching the smoke of a cigarette, thinking. I wonder what great things have come from such hours. When a man thinks, there is a spot of fire alive in his mind--and it is proper that he should have the burning point of a cigarette as his one expression."

Do hell with the absurd ideas of the Govt, let me step out now for a much-awaited smoke, with a quiet "thank you" to my stars for smoking is still allowed in the parking lot of my office.

3 Comments:

Blogger NMM said...

U don't watch a movie and start smokin.....me thinks the whole thing gets into u r sub conscious mind…the whole istyle thing is there buried deeper and deeper with every movie u watch, the macho – ism, hero – ism, orga – ism and so many other isms………and when u r old enough to hold a cig – the whole thing comes out from deep shit and makes u DO IT( lite that damm thing ).
Oh..i need to smoke now……..
May be the orga thing some how doesn’t fit in.

11:52 PM  
Blogger Deba said...

Good to know that u r still smoking. btw, when I was a non-smoker I did not even notice if anyone smoked on screen. Its only after I started smoking, I started to notice the various styles etc. So when I dont even notice something, how can it play a role on my sub-consciousness? I think the MP from Pondicherry has simply gone crazy.

1:14 AM  
Anonymous Lukasz Krajewski said...

no movies do not influence to smoke the thing that influenced me to smoke is older friends and i thought i was being cool and shortly after it wasnt just being cool i was adicted and i couldnt stop and i know because i am 15 and i started when i was about 11
im trying to quit tho but movies definitly do not influence smoking

4:58 PM  

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