Indian Director Going To Court To Fight Bollywood's Crazy Smoking Rules
In case if youíve been obscured by a thick haze of smoke for the last five years, let me give you a quick update of where society is at right now. Damn near everyone has turned on cigarettes. You canít smoke in restaurants. You canít smoke too close to government buildings. Hell, you canít even smoke in most bowling alleys anymore. As a method to save peopleís lives, thatís probably a good thing, but as the crusade puffs forward, itís getting dangerously close to doing more harm than good. Take, for example, the movie industry in India.
The Indian government recently passed a law declaring all smoking scenes in motion pictures must be accompanied by a little note letting the audience know lighting up is dangerous. Letís just give that a minute to sink in. The movie isnít required to post a message before it stats. Itís required to actually slap the written message on screen whenever a character goes to town on his or her cigarette. Last month, Woody Allen was so pissed about it he refused to release his acclaimed film Blue Jasmine into theaters, and now, an Indian director has decided to take the fight one step further by making his case in court.
According to Bollywood Hungama, Anurag Kashyap petitioned the Bombay High Court this week to overrule the Censor Boardís ruling that he must input the warning into the smoking scenes in his film Ugly. Sensibly, the director argues the disclaimers ruin the aesthetic value of the work, take viewers out of the action actually happening on screen and most importantly, trample all over filmmakersí rights to free speech.
India is far from the only nation that would like to cut back on smoking in movies. The United States now includes smoking as part of the ratings criteria and China doesnít allow any minor characters the freedom to smoke in movies. Thatís an immediate non-starter when it comes to a new film getting a Chinese release. On a personal level, I donít necessarily agree with how either of those countries have handled the situation, but at least theyíre issues that can easily be worked around. A giant message about the health risks of smoking in the background of a pivotal scene is most assuredly noticeable.
To illustrate the greatness of a power movie smoke, Iíve gone ahead and embedded Robert De Niro lighting up and silently plotting to kill someone in Goodfellas.
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