New Delhi: The new regulations on onscreen smoking that were handed out ambitiously by the the Health Ministry have been stalled as the Information and Broadcasting Ministry (I&B) has given in to the plea of the film makers, asking for their creative rights.
The I&B Ministry has stayed the no smoking regulations by the Health Ministry. In a letter from the I&B ministry to the Health Ministry, it is clear that there are issues with the implementation of the new law.
Censor board sources say they were informed by the I&B ministry on the practical difficulties of the regulations.
However, the Health Ministry has denied that a request has been made to put on hold the new anti-smoking regulations.
Sources in the Health Ministry have said that there is no stay given on the new notification. They also added that technically the I&B Ministry can't give a stay order on a notification given by the Health Ministry.
Sources added that the new rules had already been run by the law ministry and the I&B ministry, before they were notified.
Meanwhile, the film industry is divided on the smoking ban.
Actor-cum-Director Farhan Akhtar said that not allowing people to smoke in movies will not help in the long run.
"Everyone knows smoking is bad for health. But not allowing people to smoke in movies will not help. Then next, we will have to run disclaimers that murder is bad and corruption is bad. We only show what happens in real life in films," said Farhan.
On the other hand, a new telugu movie 'Bezawada' by Ram Gopal Varma has already implemented a 30 second anti-tobacco scroll on each and every smoking scene in the movie.
There are a million deaths each year due to smoking and research worldwide shows that onscreen smoking exposure has a direct impact. But the fight between creative rights and health risks is far from resolved.