`Heroine` makers move court on smoking scene rider

The makers of Bollywood film ‘Heroine’, starring Kareena Kapoor, Monday moved the Delhi High Court against the information and broadcasting ministry`s order to display anti-smoking messages during smoking scenes in the movie.

The film is scheduled to be released Sep 21.

Justice Rajiv Shakdher issued notice to the information and broadcasting and health ministries and the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) and sought their responses by Sep 10.

The CBFC was also directed to view the movie and file a report in sealed cover on next date of hearing.

The film`s producer, UTV Software Communication, approached the court seeking issuance of a board certificate for the movie without the conditions related to anti-smoking messages.

The producer also sought the setting aside of letter issued to them by the information and broadcasting ministry Aug 2, imposing an additional condition that films that have smoking scenes should start with a 20-second warning on smoking hazards.

According to the ministry`s letter, producers have to shoot the 20-second message on the actor seen smoking in the film, repeat it in the middle of the movie and also have a static message on the screen during the entire length of a smoking scene.

The petition said the ministry requested the CBFC to advise the film makers to ensure “a 20-second anti-smoking message as approved by the health ministry with voice-over of the actor who is seen smoking in the film to be displayed at the beginning and in the middle (after interval) of the film”.

Another condition imposed on film makers was that a static anti-smoking message should be “displayed for the duration of the smoking scene in the film”.

Having no objection with the 20-second message at the beginning and in the interval of the movie, UTV`s counsel Parag Tripathi and Atul Nanda opposed the proposed static anti-smoking message during a scene.

“It would kill the creativity of the scene,” the film producer said.

The production house had incurred over Rs.30 crore on the film by July-end, said the producer.

UTV said that the production house had been burdened with the “unreasonable and arbitrary requirement” to display a message during smoking scenes.

The requirement “infringes the constitutional freedom and rights guaranteed to the petitioner”, said UTV.