The teaser of big budget Kannada movie K.G.F Chapter 2 may have garnered millions of views on various online platforms since its release last week, but the Karnataka State Anti-Tobacco Cell has taken exception to the visuals showing actor Yash lighting a cigarette and smoking.
Contending that the visuals showing the actor smoking a cigarette violated Section 5 of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) 2003, also known as COTPA 2003, the cell has decided to seek deletion of the teaser from online platforms and also removal of posters of the film that promote smoking.
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“The actor has a large number of fans, particularly among the youth. If he smokes (on screen), people will emulate him. So, we are asking them to remove the teaser from the online platforms and also posters of the movie,” said an official in the cell.
A letter objecting to the visuals in the teaser have been sent to the film director Prashant Neel, Mr. Yash, producer Vijay Kiragandur, and the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce. The cell, however, will not ask the filmmakers to remove the scene from the movie. “The law says that a smoking scene can be included in the movie provided there is editorial justification for the same, but an anti-tobacco health spot or messages will have to run as a scroll on the screen during the scene,” the official said. adding that additionally anti-smoking warning will also have to be displayed before the start of the movie and during the interval.
Meanwhile, anti-tobacco crusader Vasanthkumar Mysoremath said Mr. Yash’s smoking scene leads to “unhealthy promotion of cigarette smoking amongst his followers – the youth.” He feared that such scenes may “encourage the youths to imitate their hero”.Mr. Mysoremath, who is also the honorary advisor of Cancer Patients Aids Association and convenor of the Anti-Tobacco Forum, Mysuru, said Mr. Yash, who has been appreciated for his contribution to social causes, should have refused to portray himself as a “habitual smoker” in films. “knowing fully well that he has brigades of youth that follow him and may like to imitate his macho acts in his films”.
Mr. Mysoremath recalled that tobacco activists had objected to smoking scenes even in KGF Chapter 1, released in 2018 that violated the provisions of COTPA 2003 and certain changes had been made in the final print. “The hero and the producers should have taken note of the objections by anti-tobacco activists and avoided the repetitions in KGF2, but unfortunately such smoking scenes have now been glorified”, he regretted.