Woody Allen has stopped his upcoming flick Blue Jasmine from being released in India, after he learned that anti-tobacco adverts would be inserted in its smoking scenes.
According to Indian law, health warnings are mandatory when a character smokes in the films, and cinemas have to play anti-smoking adverts before every movie. Allen has reportedly refused to accommodate these ads during his film, the BBC reported. A publicist for the 77-year-old director said that the film cannot be shown in India in its intended manner, due to its content. The Cate Blanchett starrer film features two smoking scenes that would have required on-screen disclaimers, especially the scrolling text warning viewers of the dangers of tobacco use. Bollywood reacts to the development (Bollywood Hungama report) Irrfan Khan: "Woody Allen could make his version of the anti-smoking film and ask the government of India to play it with his film." Shoojit Sircar: "I am glad Woody Allen took a stand. Those visuals are disturbing for viewers." A. Rajamouli: "Hope Woody Allen's heroic act drills some sense into those insensitive elements which thought of the ghastly anti-smoking video. I almost puked when I first watched the video. All the smokers all around me watched the footage of cancerous mouths nonchalantly. It ruins my cinema-going experience every single time." Gyan Correa: "Personally I am against any kind of coercion or censorship. We pay a price for crimes we don't commit. Like most Indians I don't even smoke!" Bejoy Nambiar: "That is completely Woody Allen's call. I am completely anti-smoking. So I've no problem with the statutory warning. I just wish the video was shorter." Kabir Bedi: "I agree with Woody Allen completely. The anti-smoking video spoils the movie-viewing experience that we pay for. Will the government stamp warnings on the text of books where characters smoke?" Santosh Sivan: "I think Woody Allen has a point. It is unfair to subject us to this footage. But I guess we live in a society where people are shown murdering, raping, taking drugs on screen. All these evils seem permissible as they don't come with any warning. I am reminded of a foreigner friend in India who shocked onlookers by kissing his wife on the road. The same people ignored people attending nature's call in full public view. I was in a restaurant with a friend in Los Angeles when Afghanistan was bombed. My friend who was smoking was asked to refrain. He was really upset because there was a whole country going up in smoke and he couldn't take a smoke! I think we need to examine the people who make these rules. Rahul Gandhi should question the people who made the anti-smoking footage mandatory before and during every film. Or maybe we should start censoring news on television and in newspapers. I'd like to see captions saying, 'Please don't bomb public places. It is injurious to health.' Censorship should not be discriminatory."