PANAJI: An anti-tobacco organisation on Thursday demanded that Bollywood actor Saif Ali Khan be punished for violating the country’s anti-smoking laws in promoting his latest film, Go Goa Gone.
Shekhar Salkar, general secretary of National Organisation for Tobacco Eradication (NOTE)-India, registered a complaint with the North Goa district collector and deputy inspector general of police, seeking punishment for Saif under provisions of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COPTA), 2003.
“Caution was thrown to wind in the massive publicity campaign in Goa, India and abroad by putting up large number of advertisements in newspapers and on the internet of Go Goa Gone, showing lead actor and producer Saif Ali Khan with a cigar in his mouth,” the complaint read.
Salkar also referred to the film’s poster that shows a cigarette burn hole through the torso of a semi-naked woman.
“These advertisements must have been already seen by lakhs of Goans, as well as others in India and abroad. The display of a popular icon smoking a cigar is the violation of Section 5(1) of the COPTA,” Salkar added.
In a separate letter to Saif, Salkar said the actor was an icon for millions of Indians and that he should be careful while choosing his public appearances.
“Needless to say, a person of your stature has to be utterly careful in public appearances — both as an artist and as an individual,” the letter said.
“You are a well-informed gentleman and I need not mention to you that this action of their idol would be imitated by millions of your followers, eventually pushing most of them in the jaws of cancer and a premature, early death.”
NOTE has in the past dragged actor Amitabh Bachchan to court over the issue of publicising use of tobacco in a film called Family.
The organisation has also filed complaints against Shahrukh Khan for smoking during an Indian Premier League (IPL) match and against Ajay Devgan for smoking while shooting for a Bollywood film at government-owned premises.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 30th, 2013.
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