So smoking is not being forbidden on screen after all. I&B ministry has finally written to health ministry, pleading its inability to enforce the proposed tobacco ban in films and on TV on the ground that it is neither feasible nor entirely desirable.
In a detailed note sent by a senior I&B official to his health counterpart, it has been pointed out that the proposal to ban any smoking scene either in films or during live television coverage of an event is not practical due to technical reasons and the issue of creative freedom.
The note which bears the hallmark of I&B minister S Jaipal Reddy's colourful rhetoric, observes that the road to hell is often paved with good intentions.
Sent on Monday, it rejects health minister Anbumani Ramadoss's proposal for a total ban on the ground that there is no way smoking scenes in old films can be erased. The ministry regrets its inability to "take retrospective view" of the issue by undertaking an exercise to rub off such scenes from films already made.
It points out that such a step would be both practically and technically difficult to implement. The I&B note also says that it is impossible to remove any smoking visual during live coverage of events. The effect of live telecast would be lost if time is taken to edit out images of smoking.