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    Default NGO objects to Bollywood song for trivialising tobacco laws

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    A NGO has raised objection to a song of Bollywood film 'Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola' for purposefully trivialising the impact of laws regulating display of tobacco usage in film scenes, and asked the Health Ministry and the film-maker to remove it.

    The NGO, HRIDAY, has written to the Ministry asking it to take cognisance of the violation by the filmmaker.

    It said the song Khatra hai bhai khatra hai that appears soon after mandatory health spots are aired in the beginning of the film, has purposefully trivialised impact of tobacco control laws and makes mockery of the fact that even one instance of tobacco use is dangerous for health.

    "In this light, we strongly urge the Ministry of Health to identify this as a gross violation of the Indian tobacco control law and issue warning/notice to the filmmaker to remove the song from the film with immediate effect," it said.

    A similar complaint has been brought to the notice of I&B Ministry and Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) to ensure that such acts are taken into serious consideration, while reviewing for censor certification prior to public exhibition. The NGO has sent a separate letter to film director Vishal Bharadwaj asking him to remove the song.

    "The song ends with a message that like excess of everything, excessive smoking/tobacco use is also bad for health. This song undermines the impact of health spots and gives out a misleading message to the audience that smoking /tobacco use in moderation may not be harmful," the NGO said.

    "We feel this creative attempt by Vishal Bhardwaj has trivialised tobacco use and smoking behaviour. Drawing a parallel between tobacco use to any other product such as lemon and water is unscientific and completely ignores volumes of literature on harmful effects of tobacco on human health... This messaging may misinform the consumers and should be urgently deleted from the film for public benefit," Senior Director of HRIDAY, Monika Arora said.

    Tobacco use continues to be one of the biggest challenges to public health and kills nearly six million people globally and more than one million Indians each year.

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