Under fire from the film industry for his persistent advice to Shah Rukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan not to act in films depicting smoking and drinking on the silver screen, Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss on Saturday alleged that he was being targeted by liquor and tobacco lobby by unleashing false propaganda.
He told a press meet in Chennai that his stand against liquor and tobacco had earned the wrath of these industrialists and he had been singled out for his stand by them.
Ramadoss said his stand on social justice had made the anti-reservationists to turn against him.
Appearing undaunted over sharp reactions from Shah Rukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan for his advice, Ramadoss said: "I am not against Shah Rukh Khan or Amitabh Bachchan, who had come out against me for tirade against tobacco and liquor.In fact, they are brand ambassadors for the Health Ministry's programmes.I want to know whether films will not run without smoking and drinking scenes," he said.
Bachchan on May 12 had hit back at Ramadoss for his repeated comments, saying "all I request the minister is to focus on his own people. By asking Shah Rukh Khan or me to quit smoking or alcohol in our cinema, an attempt is being made to tarnish the image of the film industry. That should not happen," he said in an interview.
Film personalities like Sharmila Tagore too had criticised the minister for his comments.
Defending his campaign, Ramadoss, however, reeled out figures, stating that 14.1 per cent of school going children had become tobacco addicts and that was mainly because they were attracted to smoking due to actors' smoking scenes in the films.Liquor consumption had also gone up in the country, spoiling the youth.
This was also due to drinking scenes in the films, he said.