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It makes you screen

A few days ago, I saw a movie which carried the warning 'Smoking causes cancer' or words to that effect in big bold letters right across the screen. Manas Chakravarty writes.

india Updated: May 19, 2012 21:57 IST
Manas Chakravarty

A few days ago, I saw a movie which carried the warning 'Smoking causes cancer' or words to that effect in big bold letters right across the screen. The actors then merrily puffed their way through the film. But is a warning about smoking at the beginning of a movie enough? They must carry additional alerts whenever the actors light up. Also, I see no reason why the warnings should be limited to smoking alone, there are lots of other things that affect movie-goers.

For example, in the famous shower scene in Hitchcock's Psycho in which Norman Bates murders Marion, we must have a blurb that slowly scrolls down from the top of the screen saying, 'Murder is injurious to health.' Or take any James Bond movie, full of car chases, daredevil action and sizzling sirens. When 007 asks for that martini, shaken not stirred, we need to have a line saying: 'Warning: The consumption of alcohol can erroneously lead you to believe you can sing.' When Bond cosies up to one of his hotties, the message 'Unprotected sex could get you pregnant, besides causing chlamydia, gonorrhoea, genital herpes, HPV or human papillomavirus infection and HIV/Aids.' should flash repeatedly on the screen. During those car chase scenes, the bottom of the screen should have this notice: 'All the cars used in this scene have valid PUC (pollution under control) certificates. Does your car have one too?' That's apart from the usual warning not to drink and drive.

Talking of drinking, near the end of the movie Cocktail starring Tom Cruise, when Doug (played by Bryan Brown) writes, "This may not be the most graceful exit, but I know when the bottle's empty," in his suicide note, the following line must be added, 'Oh, before I die, I must point out that drinking may cause cirrhosis of the liver and that suicide is against the law in India.'

Guns are especially dangerous. In the famous scene from Sholay with the memorable lines "Kitney aadmi they…...", the following notice must appear on the screen: 'Is gabbar's gun licensed? Carrying an unlicensed gun could make you liable for prosecution.' And in the numerous fight scenes, the legend 'Picking fights with people bigger than you could be harmful to your constitution' should be displayed.

Sometimes a few lines could be added to film songs. For instance in DDLJ, the song 'Mehendi laga ke rakhna' is all about preparing for a wedding. The lines 'Have you checked your partner's blood for thalassemia/Aids. and does he snore?' must be added to the song. Whenever there's a rain dance, the message 'Getting wet could lead to coughs and colds' must be shown.

Whenever the hero eats, the exhortation 'Fried food gives you gas' should be displayed and if he eats meat, the caption 'Too much meat may lead to constipation' must appear. When a cop is shown running after a thief the advice 'Too much running is hard on the knees' must be seen. Also, not all hardship is physical, we must consider mental health as well and the movie Sixth Sense should carry the warning 'Seeing dead people is a symptom you are stark, raving mad'. In movies about extra-terrestrials, please carry the message: 'Unsupervised fraternising with aliens could be dangerous'. And wherever the censors feel appropriate they should add the message 'This movie could bore you to death'.

I could go on and on, but let me end with the statutory warning: 'Caution: this column could raise your blood pressure.'

Manas Chakravarty is Consulting Editor, Mint

Views expressed by the author are personal