From Mahesh Babu to Allu Arjun: 5 times Tollywood stars opened up about smoking - Hindustan Times
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From Mahesh Babu to Allu Arjun, looking back at five times Tollywood stars opened up about smoking

ByNeeshita Nyayapati
Jan 17, 2024 02:32 PM IST

Mahesh Babu recently spoke about choosing not to smoke a beedi for Guntur Kaaram. Taking a look at five times Tollywood celebs got candid about smoking.

Mahesh Babu’s character Ramana in Guntur Kaaram often lights up a beedi. Still, as part of the film’s promotions, the Tollywood star revealed he was lighting up mint-flavoured clove leaves instead of tobacco on-screen. When the posters for the Trivikram Srinivas directorial were released, many were surprised to see Mahesh smoking again, given that he had sworn off tobacco in the early 2010s.

Tollywood stars might light up a beedi or cigar to look cool on-screen, but they've often spoken out against it off it
Tollywood stars might light up a beedi or cigar to look cool on-screen, but they've often spoken out against it off it

Looking back at when Tollywood celebs spoke of everything from smoking on-screen to kicking the habit off it and even how they were inspired to pick up the habit due to a role or their matinee idol. (Also Read: Mahesh Babu reveals smoking beedi in Guntur Kaaram gave him migraine: 'Won't encourage it')

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‘It was difficult to quit smoking’

In 2010, Mahesh took to X and recommended fans a book to read in case they were looking to quit smoking like he did. He wrote, “To all you smokers out there wanna know how I did it? Get ur hands on a book cald D EASY WAY TO STOP SMOKING BY ALLEN CARR. Magical stuff.” In 2017, he told TOI, “It was not an easy thing to do. I struggled to quit and couldn’t resist the urge to steal a smoke. After I was gifted a book by Allen Carr, I never touched a fag again. I don’t even want to smoke on-screen as it sends a wrong message to fans.”

‘Gave it up for my career’

While promoting his film Nene Raju Nene Mantri in 2017, Rana Daggubati said, “When I debuted with Leader, there were some scenes that required me to smoke. I began smoking for the film and got habituated to it later on. I never took quitting it seriously till it began affecting my work.” He added, “While dubbing for Nene Raju Nene Mantri, I realised I had trouble dubbing due to cough. I approached a doctor and was advised to stop smoking immediately. Despite people’s perception of me, it’s the only vice I had and I let go of that too.”

‘I’ve never been fascinated with smoking’

In 2014, Ram Charan was talking to director Krishna Vamsi about his film Govindudu Andarivadele. He opened up about how he was never fascinated by smoking, he said, “All the films that have come out recently have seen the heroes behave like rogues. But my character in the film doesn’t smoke or drink.” When asked if he smokes in reality, Ram was quick to reply, “I won’t lie, I tried it. But I wasn’t as taken by it. I’ve also heard that it affects your skin and voice. To each person their own, but I’ve never been fascinated by it.”

‘Please do not imitate me, smoking is injurious’

When the song Sittharala Sirapadu from Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo became a massive hit, Allu Arjun was worried that fans would ape his character and smoke beedis like he does in the massy number. “The song became a massive hit and it sees me smoking. A lot of fans will see and begin apeing me. Please, leave the smoking to that character in that film alone, you needn’t take it up in real life,” he said, adding, “In real life, it’s not healthy at all, I do not smoke. I request everyone not to smoke.”

‘I took up smoking inspired by Chiranjeevi and Madhavan’

Despite how well-intentioned stars are in their off-screen statements, there’s no denying that when fans are prone to copy a star’s sartorial style, there’s a possibility that they could also be influenced to smoke or drink when their silver screen stars do it on-screen.

In fact, Animal director Sandeep Reddy Vanga recently told Prema, “There’s a scene in Master where Chiranjeevi is wearing a green shirt and talking to Sakshi Shivanand while smoking a cigarette. I was very attracted to smoking after seeing that shot. I didn’t start immediately. But in Sakhi, when Madhavan is smoking so stylishly. It inspired me to smoke.”

However, he also added that as a filmmaker, he cannot be responsible for what the audience picks from his films, saying, “Had I not seen Chiranjeevi or Madhavan, I believed I would’ve picked up the habit from someplace else. If you want to pick something good or bad, you pick it anyway. I can’t carry that level of morality while I’m writing.”

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