Saturday, September 16, 2006

Smoke on the Water...

Where there is smoke, there is a fire.
- an old saying
When it comes to Central Board of Film Certification, the saying gets even more relevant. The controversy over whether to allow scenes with smoke (of course, tobacco smoke*) in Hindi films has been in news yet again.

In my young days, I used to get excited by the descriptions of smoke-filled room in which Holmes would solve mysteries. Although I hated smoke (smoke immediately makes my nose run!) I wouldn't mind it as far as mysteries got solved.

As I grew up, the whole concept of smoking didn't interest me. I didn't like the Charms(!) of blowing the smoke* out through nostrils, and suitably started subtracting smoke from any film etc myself. And I didn't need to read any statutory warning to do that!

The Censor Board has a four point agenda to execute the plan. Couple of points I remember from that agenda are: At the start, intermission and the end of the screening, the health warning must be flashed. If on screen smoking is shown, there should be a ticker scrolling from right to left at the bottom denouncing the deeds of the hero.

I wonder if this applies to Hindi/regional films alone or even to the foreign films. Foreign films need to get certificates from the Indian board, and I doubt if they are thinking of e-mailing the Hollywood producers about this policy change. I am sure the big shots across the ocean will not have the time and energy to look at it seriously and the cigar and pipe smoke will continue in the Hollywood films.

Whatever! It is for sure that the censor board of India has killed even remote chances of any film that could be made in Hindi based on Mr Holmes' character. At the same time, I seriously doubt if any producer had something like that in mind anyway...

*: Statutory Warning: Inhaling (and exhaling) tobacco smoke is injurious to health.

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