For adults only — sex, excess violence and now smoking. Filmmakers might end up with 'A' certificates for their movies if the big bad villain chews a cigar or the macho hero lights a fag on screen.
The I&B Ministry has apparently agreed to the Health Ministry's suggestion that a movie with smoking scenes be certified 'for adults only'—that is, only viewers above 18 can watch it, at least in cinemas.
So if stars like Shah Rukh Khan don't want to lose fans under 18, they may have to shun smoking on screen. The clause is not be restricted to Indian movies alone. Spider-Man 3 will also be off-limits for children if the proposal becomes law. Sources said the decision was based on a 2003 WHO study —'Bollywood: Victim or Ally' —which spoke about the influence of smoking in movies on younger audience.
Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, who has filed a petition in the Delhi HC against the smoking ban, refused to comment on the move, saying the matter was sub judice. "We believe that the censor board has enough powers to prune scenes glamorising smoking," he said.