Anti smoking messages in films

Remember few years ago, Anurag Kashyap took a stand against CBFC regarding the anti-smoking disclaimers? If not, here’s a low-down. Kashyap was all set for the release of his film ‘Ugly’; however the film’s release date was postponed for about a year and a half because the filmmaker was not ready to have anti-smoking messages flashing on the screen through the film. But he had to give up and his film released with several messages discouraging people from smoking.

A couple of years down the line, it now seems Bollywood might get a breather from those disturbing disclaimers.

The Shyam Benegal-led committee constituted by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to examine the film certification process, has said that the warnings that appear on the screen when a character lights a cigarette are disturbing. They have suggested a meaningful static disclaimer before the film starts.


Well, we totally like the idea and feel this is something that should have happened long ago. The disclaimers that appear at the right corner of the screen are disturbing and irritating as they take the attention away from the film. Many a times they diminish the impact of dialogues or scenes. Moreover, the idea is so flawed, not one person feels discouraged from smoking even after reading so many disclaimers. Forget the people who smoke, but it is annoying even to non-smokers.

Movies are for entertainment and a health-related message flashing for no reason is not even least entertaining. Well, we are not against the anti-smoking campaign. Make a short film and put it over YouTube, or before a film starts (that mostly happens), but not ugly disclaimers like these.

We remember Madhur Bhandarkar avoided smoking scenes in his film ‘Calendar Girls’ because he did not want those disclaimers. This only proves that a filmmaker has to compromise with his work, all thanks to the anti-smoking messages.

We so hope that soon these smoking disclaimers are out the films for good and all we get while watching a movie is pure, undiluted entertainment.