Smoking scenes in films are already reaching us with a disclaimer that pops up in the middle of every film. And now, though there is no official statement so far, filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj says the Health Ministry is contemplating issuing a warning against scenes that show alcohol consumption too.
“As if issuing a warning on smoking scenes was not enough, now, I believe, the same will be implemented on scenes that show people drinking liquor. If that happens, I will surely go on a hunger strike,” said Bhardwaj at the ongoing Cut Uncut Festival, organised by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) in the Capital. “I hope we get rid of issuing disclaimers for smoking scenes, because they are really irritating and hamper our craft,” he added.
Others from the film fraternity echo similar sentiments. “Are people who come to watch films fools? If the government really wants to do something, they should just stop the sale of alcohol and cigarettes. What they are suggesting is not right. People will lose interest in a film if they are subjected to so many warnings,” says Rajshri Ojha, the director of Aisha (2010).
“Though we haven’t received any official communication in this regard, I think the idea is ridiculous. We are a country of mature individuals who know what is right and wrong for them. These warnings seem kiddish,” says Tanuj Garg of Balaji Motion Pictures.
Offering a solution, filmmaker Shoojit Sirkar says, “As long as the warning is put aesthetically in the film, without it disturbing the narrative, I don’t see any issue. But there needs to be a discussion before it’s implemented.”
When contacted, Pankaja Thakur, CEO of CBFC, said, “We have no role to play in this. The decision will be taken by the Health Ministry. Honestly, we weren’t even in favour of the smoking warning.”
Health ministry officials could not be reached for comment.