Vantage point

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Dear Aamir, this is wrong, Yours, Gaurav

Dear Aamir

As I started reading this open letter you wrote to the Health Minister opposing the ban on showing smoking in films, I was in full agreement with you. However, as I finished reading, i was aghast at what you suggested.

The plea you made is right, i.e the ban is unfair, but the logic you used, i.e it would have no effect, is utterly wrong. Such a ban, even if it was effective in reducing smoking, is just plain wrong because it infringes on our freedom of expression.

You however are making some very dangerous suggestions when you say -

If the government is really serious then they can use celebs like us to endorse non-smoking. Or better still, it can ban smoking per se. I think that’s a better way to stop smoking. Cigarette selling and manufacturing should be stopped so should smoking anywhere in India.

So smoking should be banned per se? Whatever happened to an individual's right to choose, Aamir? If someone wants to smoke and risk his health a little, it is his choice, and the government has no right to take away this choice.

So please don't go around putting such absurd and dangerous ideas in the Minister's head, and write a follow up letter saying that you respect a smoker's right to smoke, just like you expect others to respect your right to express your creativity on screen.