Barely a day after the trailer of her film,
No One Killed Jessica
, was officially released, actor Rani Mukerji is already courting controversy. In the trailer, which was unveiled in the Capital on Thursday, Rani is seen smoking a cigarette.
She plays the character of a headstrong journalist, who takes on the system of justice during the murder trial of Jessica Lal. The actor says smoking was part of her characterisation.
“I play a strong-minded journalist and I have seen a lot of women journalists smoke — not all of them, but some of them, yes,” she explained. Recently, actor Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and film-maker Sanjay Leela Bhansali faced flak from anti-smoking NGOs because Ash is seen smoking in
. Wasn’t Rani worried about a similar backlash? “Well, I play a journalist in the film, so you guys (the media) can’t persecute me,” she joked.
However, NGOs that discourage smoking aren’t amused. “Letters have already been sent out to the health ministry and to the Censor Board to censor these scenes. Studies world over show that the youth is impressionable and look up to these actors as if they are Gods,” says Dr Monica Arora of HRIDAY, a health organisation.
Rani’s character is also seen hurling abuses — both in Hindi and English — in the movie’s promos. At the moment, the actor is not sure if the dialogues will be censored, but she hopes that they will be retained. The film’s director, Rajkumar Gupta defends, saying that the abuses were not meant to be controversial. “Any conversation today has abuses interspersed. We didn’t feel there was any harm in using them,” he said.