Bollywood production house Junglee Pictures, which was sent a notice by the Delhi government over smoking scenes and alleged promotion of tobacco products in their film, has stated that the depiction of tobacco brands was "incidental and inadvertent" and that they will blur them in copies to be provided for television broadcast in India, a city government official said.
However, the Delhi government wants the company to take similar corrective steps in copies being shown in cinema halls also. It has also sought an undertaking from the production house that such violations will not happen in future, Additional Director (Health) Dr S K Arora said.
He said that the further course of action will be decided based on compliance by the production house.
In its reply to the notice, the company, while accepting that two brands of tobacco were shown -- one at a tobacco kiosk and other at a shopping centre, clarified that they have not received any benefit or payment for displaying those brands, he said.
The company has said it will blur the brand names in the scenes in the copies to be provided for television broadcast in India.
"They said it was incidental and inadvertent. They denied advertisement or promotion of any brand directly or indirectly. The company also denied receiving any benefits or payments for displaying the brands of tobaccos in the film," Mr Arora said.
"They also claimed that the scenes were demand of the script of the film, but, it could have been modified in view of the 13 lakh deaths annually happening in India due to tobacco use. Bollywood industry needs to understand that people especially youngsters follow them blindly and easily get influenced by such advertisements," Mr Arora said.
"Junglee Pictures company has assured (us) of taking all corrective measures to blur the brands name in the said scenes in the copies to be provided for television broadcast in India. However, we have reiterated that they to do the same in copies being shown in cinema halls also. They should also give an undertaking that such kind of violations will not happen in future under their production house," Mr Arora said.
The Delhi government's Health Department had issued the legal notice to the director, producers and actors of the just released Hindi movie Badhaai Ho seeking removal of smoking scenes and those allegedly promoting tobacco products.
Mr Arora said there are a lot of smoking scenes and also a tobacco shop displaying tobacco packs shown repeatedly in the movie which are violations under section 5 of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA). These are punishable offences under section 22 of COTP.
'Badhaai Ho', starring Ayushmann Khurrana, Sanya Malhotra, Neena Gupta, Gajraj Rao and Surekha Sikri, is a comedy drama about a middle-age couple facing unexpected pregnancy.
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