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Monday, June 20, 2005

smoke screens

The latest decision of the government to ban scenes that depict smoking on screens with effect from a date to be decided upon in the future, is welcome. Let us hope that this really helps in lifting the smoke screens once and for all. Smoking is bad, we know it. It results in cancer, we know that also. It is costly, no one doubts that. In fact, the authorities admit as much and keep increasing taxes on it to keep it away from the reach of commoners. But, still, smoking is something that practically 99% of the youth try out when crossing over from childhood to adolescence. It is that period in ones life when the charm, of holding the white cylindrical object in between ones lips and imitate some personality or another, is irresistible. The lips have yet to lose their pink glow. Given sufficient time, those lips will lose color, and become lifeless - as the owner of that pair of lips keeps adding years to his personality.

With regard to existing films that are normally preserved in libraries and removed from the archives once in a while for reviving memories of the golden era lost forever, the proposal envisages the mandatory display of the warning – ‘smoking is injurious to your health.’ It does not specify where that display is to be posted or the minimum duration of its scrolling. Where sub-titles appear, it will be terribly difficult to accommodate every thing on the tiny TV screen. A way out would be to reduce the size of the letters and merge them with the smoke that trickles out of the glowing cigarette end. But, then, when popular Westerns or memorable war pictures are shown, where smoking is the order of the day, that scrolling will take away a lot of the charm.

It is extremely difficult to conjure up scenes of Sir Winston Churchill minus his cigar! Or our own cine personalities like K. N. Singh, Ashok Kumar, Dev Anand, Kamal Mitra, Pahari Sanyal or Amitabh Bachhan without their patent smoke screens.

While on the subject of smoke screens, why does not some enthusiastic persons or group of persons join together and start a crusade against skimpy dresses of filmy heroines. This is not to belittle the tolerance levels of today’s audiences but, if allowed to continue unabated, we will very soon have mill owners on the streets demanding compensation for the loss of revenue from sale of ladies clothes and garments.

The Government must sit up and take notice before it becomes too late.


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