Never short of words, former CBFC chairperson Pahlaj Nihalani feels I & B minister Smriti Irani is barking up the wrong tree by banning condom ads. “It is not condoms but paan masala that is killing people. Children seeing condom ads is not going to kill them. But being encouraged to take gutka and paan masala by Bollywood role models is definitely damaging to the nation’s health,” says Nihalani.
He singles out Akshay Kumar for special censure. “Akshay has a very clean image. He is seen as a hero of the masses. Then why is he promoting a brand of paan masala? Others like Govinda and even the actor who played James Bond (Pierce Brosnon) are promoting what is a proven agent for cancer. If this is not detrimental to national health, what is? Condoms? Ms Smriti Irani needs to focus better on the dos and don’ts.”
Shockingly Nihalani reveals that the broadcasting of alcohol and paan masala ads in illegal and unconstitutional. “Law forbids the CBFC from granting certification to paan masala and alcohol ads. Therefore the ads for these products being broadcast are illegal. Actors who are part of such ads should know they’re participating in an illegal activity.”
Nihalani says he wrote repeatedly to the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting about these ‘banned’ ads. “But I got no response from them. It’s very strange that Smritiji is going after condoms and not the real enemy. While Nitish Kumar is advocating nationwide prohibition, national television is selling paan masala to the nation.”
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