28 June 2012
New Delhi: Soon, your favourite actor will be warning you about the hazards of smoking. The government plans to mandate that at least one of the film’s protagonists read out the statutory health warning twice during the film’s duration as part of the new notification against smoking scenes in films.
The warning will be read out before the film begins and immediately after the interval. The statutory warning could also be changed to make it more impactful, sources said. The notification is being finalized by senior officials from the information and broadcasting (I&B) and health ministries.
The new rules are likely to end the unsavoury battle between the two ministries over the smoking ban in films. In Novermber 2011, the health ministry had issued a notification making it mandatory for tobacco products to be blurred. It had also said that a health warning should be run during a smoking scene in a film. The notification was put on hold with the I&B ministry pointing to practical obstacles in its implementation.
Since then, however, the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has introduced several changes in its certification of films that show smoking scenes. All films that have smoking scenes get a U/A certificate – recommendimg parental guidance. Films have also been voluntarily blurring cigarettes and other tobacco products and running a health warning scroll. Recently, films like ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’ introduced an audio health warning before the film began. The notification is likely to formalize these "voluntary" initiatives and make it mandatory for film makers to adhere to the new changes. Among the other changes include a fixed rather than moving health warning scroll during the duration of the scene.
SMOKE-FREE: A new I&B notification wil make it mandatory for one of the film’s protagonists to read out a warning on the hazards of smoking before the film begins and immediately after the interval