Government gives movies with smoking scenes a breather

By Savita Verma

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It seems the health ministry has been forced to tone down its stand on movies with smoking scenes. The government has decided to do away with its previous decision which required films to be certified U/A solely on the
ground that they depict smoking.

As well as this, the health ministry will now have to bear the cost of the anti-tobacco disclaimers to be shown at the beginning and during the interval of such productions.

The health ministry notification issued in October 2011 will be amended to accommodate these changes, it was said in a statement following a meeting between the officials of the health and information and broadcasting ministries.

Vidya Balan lights up in a scene from the 2011 hit The Dirty Picture

Vidya Balan lights up in a scene from the 2011 hit The Dirty Picture

The notification, which came into force on November 14 2011, required 30-second anti-tobacco health spots to be shown at the beginning and
during the interval of movies and TV programmes that show tobacco use.

In addition, a prominent scroll of anti-tobacco warnings had to be shown during smoking scenes.

The amended notification retains the provision for anti-tobacco health spots and calls for an audio-visual disclaimer on the ill-effects of tobacco use, with a duration of at least 20 seconds, to be displayed with films containing smoking scenes.

However, the cost of production of such health spots and disclaimers would be borne by the health ministry. The warnings, to be prepared by the health ministry, will be provided to the Central Board of Film Certification in digital beta format for distribution to filmmakers when they apply for certification.

The films showing use of tobacco products will also be required to display an anti-tobacco health warning in the form of a static message during the period of display of the tobacco products or their use.

 

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