Do mass heroes lack social responsibility?

Chennai: Came ‘Sarkar’s‘ first look poster with a smoking scene. And it immediately met with severe criticisms from various quarters to be pulled out eventually.

Even before the controversy could die down, came Vishal’s first look poster of the movie ‘Ayokya‘ with the actor holding a beer bottle in his hand.

This has let loose a debate whether film stars lack social responsibility and misguide youngsters.
Speaking to ‘News Today‘, filmmaker Rasi Azhagappan, says, “audience are very matured today. They watch film as a film. When a story demands an actor to smoke, he has to appear smoking. It is the same for drinking. There is no point in finding fault. We are in a society where we find everything as mistake.”

He adds, “These days actors show greater responsibility towards the society. They turn up as ambassadors for several noble causes. They contribute in both cash and kind in case of natural disasters and the latest being Gaja cyclone. When someone take on cinema personalities, they get immediate attention.”

Echoing the same, Kannan, a trade analyst says, “We have censor board. They have rules and regulations. And whenever there is a smoking or drinking scene, it comes with a disclaimer. We are making something out of nothing in this issue. Quite a lot of films were made in the recent past on issues that affect the society. It has created an awakening among people.”

But Indumathi, a social activist, says, “It is a fact that only youngsters visit theatres these days. The young minds are influenced by what their favourite hero does. They dress and speak like him. And imagine when their hero justifies bad habits, without even knowing its implications, they fall for it. They do it without any guilt. They see it as style statement.”

“Remember the protests that Rajinikanth faced for such scenes in ‘Baba‘ made him to give up those acts in his subsequent films. Smoking kills several lakh of people every year in the country. It is time that we stop glorifying harmful habits on screen.”

Former Union Health Minister and PMK leader Anbumani Ramadoss is a vocal supporter to ban smoking scenes on screen.

When ‘Sarkar‘ posters were released, he tweeted, “Shame on actor Vijay for promoting smoking in this first look of his next movie #Actresponsibly #Donotpromotesmoking.”

He wrote, “You’ll look more stylish without that cigarette. #Smokingkills #Smokingcausescancer.” In the past, Ramadoss has criticised Tamil heroes who have resorted to smoking in films as it sends out a wrong message to the people.

For a healthy tomorrow, actors who have mass appeal should contribute more by way of avoiding such scenes and not justify by it saying the script demands. MGR was a classic example, says Pawan Kumar, a social activist.

M BHARAT KUMAR