‘KGF’ propagating tobacco consumption?

By Vasanthkumar Mysoremath

No doubt the Kannada movie ‘Kolar Gold Fields’ (KGF) has created a record of sorts. A wonderful and world-class film produced by Kannada film industry. But one very bad depiction is the hero lighting cigarettes like a chain smoker in every other scene in the first half of the film. Were these smoking cigarettes scenes, a necessity and what did they communicate?  We are all aware of the hazards of smoking – every 8th second a person is dying due to diseases directly attributable to consumption of smoke and non-smoke tobacco products.

The hero’s action is bound to be emulated as a fashion statement by the youths since it is depicted as a macho action.  Paradoxically, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) survey, about 5500 youngsters are being initiated into smoking every hour in the world and every effort is being made to stop this epidemic.  I am sure the hero is not a chain smoker in real life. But his action has done a disservice to the tobacco control efforts all over the world.

While this was the case in the first half of the film ‘KGF,’ in the second half, the hero does not light even a single cigarette until the end of the movie.  How will the producers/directors explain this miracle?  It would have been better even in the first half of the movie, scenes of smoking had been avoided. Instead, the hero could have been shown popping a bar of chocolate!

In some theatres, before the start of the film, a short film showing ill effects of consumption of tobacco products is shown with gory pictures and narration but immediately followed by the film glorifying ‘smoking hero’ and also by most other character actors.

The Film Censor Board has passed ‘KGF’ without cutting scenes depicting smoking which is a blatant violation of Article 5.3 of the United Nations-sponsored World Health Organisation (WHO) protocol – Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) that has been ratified by the Parliament and Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) rules and 198 countries who are signatories to FCTC.

Tobacco companies must be rejoicing the free propaganda given by Yash/KGF indirectly promoting smoking as a fashion statement.

Hope Chapter-2 of KGF (expected) will keep a note of this serious community health issue and avoid conflict with anti-tobacco war being waged to safeguard the youths of our country from addiction to nicotine. (The writer is honorary advisor, Cancer Patients’ Aid Association and convener, Anti-Tobacco Forum).

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