Ram Gopal Varma has never been one to zip his lips on controversial matters. Now anti-smoking and anti-tobacco campaigns shown prior to films' screenings in theatres have caught his interest and the filmmaker questions the logic behind them.
"People want to forget problems for two hours when they come to see a movie and they are pounced upon with grotesque close ups of diseased lungs and mouths. I have been seeing a million anti-smoking campaigns since I was a kid, but yet to see a single smoker who gave up smoking because of them," Varma posted on Twitter.
"Why should non-smokers who pay good money to see the likes of Hrithiks and Katrinas suffer grotesque visuals of diseased lungs and mouths?"
According to Indian law, a disclaimer about the evils of tobacco use has to be flashed while showing smoking scenes in films or on TV. There is also an anti-smoking ad film showcased before a film is screened in the theatre as well as during the interval.
In fact, it is due to this reason that acclaimed international filmmaker Woody Allen
refused to screen his movie "Blue Jasmine" in the country as he didn't want the audiences to get distracted by the anti-tobacco disclaimers.
Varma, who is gearing up for the release of "Satya 2", believes: "If the government's only intention is to educate us moronic idiots on the dangers of smoking, why stop only with smoking and ignore other worse evils?"
He feels that "when in a film some people play cards there should be a mandatory super - 'Gambling is bad'; when someone in the film drinks, they should put a super - 'Drinking is unhealthy' and should show grotesque visuals of the liver in half screen.
"When someone kills someone on screen, they should order the producer to freeze the frame and put a super - 'Murder is a crime and it carries death penalty'; When someone is having an affair on screen, the censors should put a rule of a super saying 'Adultery will make you burn in hell'..."
Varma, a National award-winning filmmaker, finds that the government's logic is - "What they fail to teach us at educational institutions, they force us to learn at the movies".
He is upfront in saying that "if they (government) really believe that ads can stop people from having vices, they should logically do that for all vices... why only cigarette and gutka (tobacco)".
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Absolutely valid statement, RGV you are a genius! When they fail to teach in intelligence institutes and spread as common knowledge, the government half asses their responsibility by simply labelling tobacco as bad in films... what about the other ethical issues sprouted by them?
People's health is always going to be on the line. The matter of prevention is the medium the government uses in order to educate people. Why half ass education about public health and safety by only focussing on tobacco, which seems like the least of India's ever growing problems at the moment, considering all the human trafficking, infanticide, rape, oppression, inter-caste violence, and corruption going on?
Edited on:06 November 2013 at 6:07pm
Jeez! There is a reason those adverts are played. If you don't smoke, good for you. But ask tens of hundreds of global health researchers, UN officials, public health administrators who meet young and impressionable youth hooked on biddies and cigs. This might be only time someone tells them not to smoke especially because the entire industry is up and arms about the actors' RIGHT to smoke on screen *rolls eyes*. The entire nation's public health policy does not revolve around upper and middle class India. There is a major crisis in factions elsewhere so SUCK IT UP RGV and other bothered cinema goers. People's health is on the line here.
I don't like watching this ads, it's waste of time for me. Most people know what tabacco can do. Nobody in my family smokes or chew tabacco so we find this advertise very discussing.
Haan...so what should we do ? Before showing a movie, make a list of all the evils and start screening them ?! -_-
Tobacco and cigarettes are the most prominent dangers out of the rest that is very vivid and is among quite a number people at a larger scale and it's good that a certain awareness step is taken for it.
Edited on:06 November 2013 at 4:40am
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