Nearly 60% of Bollywood films, including blockbusters, released during the past five months have shown smoking scenes in violation of rules regulating depiction of tobacco use in films, says a study.
Student volunteers from five schools and four colleges watched 31 movies in the past five months to assess tobacco use incidents and compliance with newly notified film-related Indian tobacco control laws.
"Out of the 31 films reviewed so far, only 13 films have received a 'thumbs up' with the remaining 18 films getting a 'thumbs down', meaning nearly 60% of the films haven't complied with the rules regulating depiction of tobacco use in films," says the study.
The review began with blockbuster films like Jab Tak Hai Jaan, which received a 'Thumbs up!' The film starring Shahrukh Khan and Katrina Kaif got approval for "adhering to film related laws ... which includes a 20 second audio-visual disclaimer and a 30 second health spot before and in the middle of the film as well as a static health message at the bottom of the screen each time during the period of depiction of tobacco use on-screen," the study observed.
Whereas the Ajay Devgan-Sonakshi Sinha film Son of Sardar released in November 2012 received a "thumbs down!" since "there was no anti-tobacco static warning message displayed at the bottom of the screen during the period of depiction of tobacco products. No audio-visual disclaimer shown at the beginning and middle of the movie."
Some of the other films that were monitored include Talaash, Dabangg 2, Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola among others.
The study is based on the results of on a ongoing monitoring campaign "Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down" by the NGO HRIDAY (Health Related Information Dissemination Amongst Youth) in technical collaboration with the University of California.
"Despite the regulations, tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship is very rampant and youth centric. According to a recent study by us, the current use of tobacco was five times higher in students who were highly receptive to tobacco advertising than those who were least receptive," says Monika Arora, senior director, HRIDAY.