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Now, the curtain has been pulled down. Indian Government has banned smoking in public places like railway stations, cinema theatres, restaurants, bars etc. as passive smoking has become a big health issue. Bollywood actors, who smokes, also have to abide by the law. Nobody is an exception here.
Indian actors like Shahrukh Khan, Vivek Oberoi, Aamir Khan, Ajay Devgan and others not only smoke on reel but also in real life. In fact, King Khan has ran into trouble many a time because of his smoking habit. It was reported not long ago that Punjab Government had filed a complaint against him for smoking at a college in Amritsar while shooting for his film Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi.
Bollywood has welcomed the decision of the government, though there may be a handful who are still not amused by the very idea. Abhishek Bachchan said that everyone has the freedom to smoke but at the same time encouraged banning it in public places. Actors like Saif Ali Khan, Akshaye Khanna, Shabana Azmi, Hema Malini and Rakhi Sawant also endorse the ban on smoking.
Smoking ban became effective on October 2nd, on Gandhi Jayanti, with the offenders to be slapped with Rs.200 fine. However, the Indian film industry has been spared, at least for the moment. Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss had earlier come down heavily on film stars, who smoke on screen, stating that their actions motivate the young minds.
The proposal to ban on-screen smoking a few years ago turned into a big controversy, as filmmakers thought that it would restrict artistic values. This time around, the Health Ministry seems to have decided not to step into the same dirty waters. The Censor Board of Film Certification has not received any notification on on-screen smoking ban. However, there is a strict guideline against scenes that glorify smoking.
Will Bollywood actors kick the butt on and off the screens now? The Indian Government can ban on-screen smoking but the actors have the freedom to smoke as long as they do it privately.