`Discourage glamorisation of smoking`

Mumbai: If you stare hard enough at the screen during Katrina Kaif`s item song in `Agneepath`, you will see a statutory warning flashed at the bottom of the screen. But there is no reason for the film industry to go into a panic mode, says Pankaja Thakur, CEO of the Central Board Of Film Certification (CBFC), adding that they just try to discourage glamorisation of smoking on screen.

Contrary to the widespread concern in the entertainment industry, the board doesn`t intend to ask for a warning scroll every time a character on screen takes a smoke.

"As long as lyrics like `Bidi chillum jalaane aayee`, offering smoking temptations, are not prevalent, the scroll in `Agneepath` would be a one-off thing. As long as an actor doesn`t urge the world to join in the bidi- chillum smoke, the scroll in `Agneepath` would remain a one-off thing. Glamorization of smoking is to be discouraged as per the guidelines of the Cinematograph Act," said Thakur.

He also says that the filmmakers shouldn`t get panicky.

"Not at all!" said Thakur emphatically. "I think the intention of the scroll is being misinterpreted by a section of the film industry. An actor smoking on screen is a different matter from an actress saying, `Bidi chillum jalaane aayee`."

"We did ask for the scroll in `Agneepath`. As per the Cinematograph Act, glamorisation of smoking is not to be allowed on screen. We in the censor board thought nothing can make smoking more alluring than Katrina Kaif offering to light the crowd`s bidis and chillums."

Thakur is all praise for "Agneepath" producer Karan Johar for accommodating the censor board`s decision into the item song.

"He was gracious enough to agree to insert the scroll. The scroll shows the CBFC`s and the film industry`s commitment to ensuring that smoking is not made to look glamorous on screen."

Industry spokesperson Mahesh Bhatt adds: "This (the scroll for the `Agneepath` song) is a stand-alone case. The industry need not go into a panic mode. The CBFC has acted with great sagacity. If there is no editorial justification for the images of character`s smoking on screen, the censor board is within its rights to ask filmmakers to do what it did in `Agneepath`. We have to act responsible towards the nation."


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