The health minister of India has asked that Bollywood take drinking and smoking out of their films. Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss feels that the actors in their roles in films should set a better example for the audience. “Earlier, most villains were shown consuming alcohol. Now heroes have started to portray alcohol consumption more often.” His concern is that fans will want to emulate the actions seen on screen. Drinking is becoming a more acceptable past time for big cities and professionals in society. The stigma that was closely associated with drinking in the past is now being seen as acceptable in certain social environments.
“Actors drinking on screen will encourage youngsters to take up the habit. Scenes depicting alcohol consumption in films need to immediately stop,” he said. Taking drinking out of films completely might be impossible. Generally films are made to have a realistic approach to them. If the movie calls for a celebration where generally alcohol might be served, it could limit what a filmmaker is allowed to portray in the films.
The minister had made an earlier appeal in January about Bollywood influencing bad behavior. In January he asked movie stars to stop smoking on screen. His reason was that 52% of children start smoking to act like their film idols. In making his request he singled out film star Shah Rukh Khan. Shah Rukh responded by saying the actions of the minister only added to the growing censorship of films.
Komal Nahta, editor of the trade journal Film Information says “Young people do not pick up all their habits from watching movies.” Experts in the industry state that the request of the minister is unreasonable. “First he says don’t smoke, now it’s don’t drink. It’s undoable, because then what do you show?”
Censor Board chief Sharmila Tagore believes that the minister should focus on larger health issues as opposed to the actions of actors in films. In response to the minister’s remarks Tagore says, “I would humbly like to suggest that there are bigger health issues like fake medicines that are available in the Indian market and are leading to life threatening diseases. The turnover of this market is huge and the minister should tackle this issue.”
The Censor Board chief feels the film industry’s views will be considered before any step is taken towards a ban. “I also feel that the minister should not have a narrow vision. He has first spoken of smoking, then chips and now alcohol depicted in films. We are part of the entertainment industry and not an educational establishment. Films have always reflected society.”
So far the appeal made by the minister has not become legal and has not made significant results.
What do you guys think?