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Shahrukh Khan’s creative liberty lies in smoking?
Ashwini Ahuja | 29 Jan 2008

Does smoking at public place or on screen really is a hindrance in an artist’s creative liberty? Perhaps nobody would favour in the interest of our youths.

Clamour on tobacco is not a new idiom thesedays. Much has been preached and scripted against its consumption in public and on screen. No doubt, there are some reality-loving models, celebrities, writers and individuals of high profile who has promoted the trend through their arts and writings. Cinema is the most vital medium of promoting violence, sex and awful habits- viz smoking, drinking and gambling among youngsters.
 
Thesedays, smoking is most debateable issue. With the snub of Shahrukh Khan- ‘don’t curb creative liberty’ to union health minister who had appealed to bollywood super stars Amitabh Bachhan and SRK to quit smoking in the interests of the teenagers, the debate has taken a new twist. The question is: should the promotion of bad habits through the art of cinema be really dubbed as a creative liberty of an artist?
 
Everybody either he or she is a superstar or a queen of the tinsel world has the right to enjoy his or her liberty provided none takes bad lesson from their liberty. Undoubtedly, Big B and SRK are celebrities par excellence. They are models for our youngsters. If they do anything publicly, notice is taken and youngsters follow them. If Shahrukh smoked in the corridor while watching a cricket match, he is keenly spotted by thousand of spectators and millions of TV viewers. Being a union health minister Anbumani Ramadoss has every right to condemn their acts and he had done an excellent job appealing to them to quit smoking in public.
 
If we ask anyone, does smoking at public place or on screen really is a hindrance in an artist’s creative liberty? Perhaps nobody would favour in the interest of our youths.
 
Earlier, several times, the issue of smoking-on-screen surfaced. Everytime, it was crushed under the weight of creative liberty or the basic requirement of the story of the film. What is the purpose of the art, cinema or literature? Should literature or cinema- the mediums of entertainment be meant for spoiling the youngsters?
 
No doubt, these are a mirror of our society. Society is constantly deteriorating. But, there is a lot left which is good and praiseworthy in the society also, it ought to be promoted rather than bad habits viz, smoking, use of alcohol and gambling. If cinema is meant for what Shahrukh Khan’s so called liberty, it is better to be banned. Art, literature and cinema should be for the welfare of the society and our youngsters.
 
Media reports say that Shahrukh Khan was not advocating for smoking by snubbing the health minister Anbumani Ramadoss’s advice to him. Shahrukh Khan himself accepted it is worst habit and he wanted to give it up as soon as possible. He was quoted as saying everytime on television channels he always says- “children, don’t smoke, it will kill you” but he himself smoke in the public, at cricket match stand, at media conferences. He has earned the ire of anti smoking groups several times on different occasions. In the month of October 2007, the national organisation for Tobacco Eradication had slapped a legal notice on him because he was spotted in public places. It’s an irony what our celebrities says behave rightly against it. Why our celebrities are becoming such types?