Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Smoking and drinking on screen and in public

There is ban on smoking in public places in India as per Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of advertisements and regulation of trade and commerce, production, supply and distribution) Act 2003. Roads and Stadia are public places. Anyone smoking on a road or in a stadium needs to be punished as per law.

Some say smoking on screen is creativity and there is freedom of speech and expression. A film on Winston Churchill needs to show him smoking cigar. Ban on smoking on screen is silly and stupid. It is good to know that there are people in Bollywood who want to make a film on Winston Churchill. It seems their knowledge is limited to the fact that he smoked cigar. There are photographs and video clips of Winston Churchill without cigar. He did not have his cigar when he made “iron curtain” speech. The smoke exhaled by speakers affects other people. If a man smoking is close to a pregnant woman the smoke he exhales the foetus in her womb. People who involuntarily have to inhale smoke exhaled by smokers are called passive smokers and their health suffers. There is no freedom to pollute and ruin the health of others.

Drinking on screen has not attracted as much controversy as smoking on screen. As a rule soft drinks are used for drinking scenes. Once on DD I watched a scene about drinking scene. The director tells the actor that his acting is not good. The actor wants alcoholic beverage for realistic portrayal. The director replies that at the end of the film he has to consume poison and die. There are laws that restrict sale and consumption of alcohol. There are dry days.

Sometimes drinking scenes are used for humorous situations.

Reel life impacts real life and vice versa. How much drinking and smoking scenes influence people is debatable. However health of people needs to be protected. Non-smokers have to be protected from smokers. Many crimes and accidents take place under the influence of alcohol. If film stars smoke or drink in moderation in private it does not affect people. However if they break the law the law must take its course.

Updated: July 5, 2014 — 2:38 am

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