This is so ridiculously stupid, that I'm past my usual routine of foaming-in-the-mouth and have settled at the 'lord-these-children' shakings of the head.
NOTE (National Organisation for Tobacco Eradication) secretary Shekhar Salkar, a Goa-based cancer surgeon, has served legal notice, to Superstar Amitabh Bachchan for featuring on a film's poster with a cigar in his hand. Says NOTE secretary Shekhar Salkar, "Bachchan, being the icon that he is in India, is bound to have an indelible influence on youth."
I have two issues with this painstakingly-cultivated-bonsai-molehill:
1. Mr Salkar is obviously incredibly well-informed about the working of the film industry, and knows that every movie poster that is made, is made wholly in concurrence with the whims of the actors featuring in the film. Of course that's how it works. You didn't know? Well silly you!
I can just imagine it, Mr. Bachchan's sonorous voice saying - "Yes, yes. This is exactly how it should be. I shall sit, leaning back a little, radiating power and charisma, and the cigar shall be captured in the frame 'just so'. We just have to ensure that the *first* thing every young man or woman does, after seeing this poster is, hop around to the corner store and pick up one of these little babies! Now don't forget, boys! Focus! On the cigar, if you please.".
2. By the blindingly brilliant logic of Mr Salkar's argument, a large number of Indian youths ought to have started out in life as dodgy con-men, graduated to train robbery, served time in jail and then become the good guys.
They ought to have been inspired to start out their careers as coolies (with pet eagles), taangawallas (with proclamatory tattoos across their chests) and anthropomorphic-taxi drivers.
There ought to have been scores of anti-establishment, angry young men and women stomping through this country's roads everyday, and shooting angry glares at the population at large.
There ought to have also been much wooing of damsels through song, dance and soulful poems, recited in honey-on-gravel voices (that voice, sweet jesus, that voice!).
Sadly, there have been no activities on these lines.
There has also been, no evident increase in the number of cigar smokers, even after the sightings of the much-maligned posters.
So what do you think this tells us, Mr. Salkar?
It tells us, that while the youth of India are impressionable (like youth anywhere in the world, really), they're not bloody stupid. And the minority that are, are going to stay that way, whether or not you choose to persecute a man who has led his life (mostly) exemplarily.
It also tells us that you are the kind of strange and confused man, who is likely to serve legal notice to grass, for not tripping up a lion who was running along, looking for his lunch in some distant jungle, in a far away land.
Mr. Bachchan has apologised for the advertisement and has made it known, that he has not touched wine or cigarettes for the last thirty years, except for film shots.
Mr. Bachchan - hero, first love, for whom copious tears were shed by a certain red-nosed, four-year old - firstly, don't apologise for something you obviously had very little to do with. Secondly, please go ahead and smoke that damned cigar. And down a couple of large pegs of something oaky to go with it.
Thirty years is too long to deny yourself life's little pleasures.