Coming down heavily on those involved in producing and financing anti-tobacco ads, especially that of starring Mukesh Harane, a 24-year guy who tries to scare and also discourages every budding smoker before the starting of any typical south Indian movie, the members of Chain Smokers’ Federation of India (CSFI) had demanded the retraction of such ads which “hurts the sentiments of the smokers”.
The protesters under the headship of Suttesh who recently assumed the chair of presidentship of the association after obtaining honorary doctorate in ‘Tobacco and Censor Board Conflict’, demanded the Censor Board to cut off anti-smoking and anti-tobacco campaigns shown prior to films’ screenings in theatres. He termed them as insensitive which projects the potential smokers in bad light.
“It is bullshit and purely a work of fiction. How can a boy of that young age die after consuming tobacco for only one year when my grandfather who, since the age of eight, smoking beedis and all and still doing well at the age of 90,” Suttesh questioned.
It was actually an act of negligence on parts of the doctors who could not save Mukesh. They should be announced guilty, not tobacco, says Rajanna, another smoker.
They also demanded the government to amend the Article 19 of the Indian Constitution and incorporate “Right to advocate and propagate smoking” as a sub-clause.
Highlighting the sheer discrimination by the Censor Board, the association demanded that either ‘smoking leads to cancer’ line should be removed when someone smokes during the movie or board should order the producer to freeze the frame and put a line- ‘Murder is a crime and it carries death penalty’ when someone kills someone on screen. And also when someone is having an illicit affair on screen, the board should put a line saying ‘Adultery will make you burn in hell’, the protesters further demanded.
Recalling the apathy his life was subjected to because of the ads, one Puneeth Kumar, said that his life was made miserable by the health department. “My father never knew I smoked as I, most of the times, did it in the toilet pretending to poop. After repeatedly watching Mukesh dying, he was sceptical about the process inside. “He always steps into the toilet after I vacate to inspect,” Puneeth rued.
“Enough is enough. How much more will you disgrace us, Puneeth questioned the Censor Board and Health Department.