All eyes are glued to Saif’s upcoming venture Go Goa Gone. However, despite the film’s poster and teaser making ripples in the market, the film has run into a trouble zone. It is learnt that an anti-tobacco organization demanded that Saif should be punished for violating the country’s anti-smoking laws in promoting Go Goa Gone.
Shekhar Salkar, general secretary of National Organisation for Tobacco Eradication (NOTE)-India, registered a complaint with the North Goa district collector and deputy inspector general of police, seeking punishment for Saif under provisions of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COPTA), 2003.
“Caution was thrown to wind in the massive publicity campaign in Goa, India and abroad by putting up large number of advertisements in newspapers and on internet of Go Goa Gone, showing lead actor and producer Saif Ali Khan with cigar in his mouth,” the complaint read.
Salkar also referred to the film’s poster that shows a cigarette burn hole through the torso of a semi-naked woman. “These advertisements must have been already seen by lakhs of Goans as well as others in India and abroad. The display of a popular icon smoking a cigar is the violation of Section 5(1) of the COPTA,” Salkar added.
In a separate letter to Saif, Salkar said the actor was an icon for millions of Indians and that he should be careful while choosing his public appearances. “Needless to say, a person of your stature has to be utterly careful in public appearances — both as an artiste and as an individual,” the letter said.
“You are a well-informed gentleman and I need not mention to you that this action of their idol would be imitated by millions of your followers, eventually pushing most of them in the jaws of cancer and a premature, early death. Unmindful of the imminent consequences, the youths would embrace this menace, just because they would want to imitate their icon,” the letter added.
While on the other hand, justifying the reason behind Saif being shown smoking in the film producer Dinesh Vijan says, “Saif plays a Russian Mafia Lord in Go Goa Gone and because of the demand of the character, he smokes a cigar in the film. Off screen, Saif doesn’t smoke and condemns the use of tobacco.”
“In fact, on his insistence we had shot a personalized anti-tobacco video a while back, where he says that the use of Tobacco in any form is injurious to health. The video will play before the film begins. This was not meant to disrespect the law or promote the use of tobacco, keeping the sensitivity and the sensibility of the Law in mind, we retract our creative,” says Dinesh.
Says Saif, “I think smoking is a form of drug abuse. I do not believe in censorship, as in blanket banning. An appropriate age certificate must be set and then enforced. That is what the censor board is for. However, I understand with this freedom comes a social responsibility and I would like to warn the youth that smoking is a very dangerous habit. It may seem cool now but there is nothing cool about lung or heart disease. I quit smoking after almost suffering a heart attack five years ago. Purely bought on by my smoking… clearly It is not worth it!”
Watch Promo: Go Goa Gone