Wunderbar Films, the film production company owned by Dhanush, had put out an ad that showed the star smoking.
Tamil star and National Award-winning actor Dhanush’s movie production company could have troubled days ahead.
With the Madras High Court directing the Tamil Nadu Health Department to go ahead with proceedings against the film production company for violating Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulations of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003, the actor might have a long legal battle set in the coming days.
For the record, Wunderbar Films, a film production company owned by Dhanush, had allegedly flouted various sections of the Act in a film that was made under its banner.
The film, ‘Velayilla Pattathari’ which Wunderbar Films made, had been advertised before its release with images of Dhanush smoking a cigarette.
Smoking scene ad for Dhanush flick invites trouble
The ads had Dhanush breathing out clouds of smoke, which according to the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulations of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 is non-permissible.
Earlier, a petition was filed in the Madras High Court by S Cyril Alexander, State convener, Tamil Nadu People’s Forum for Tobacco Control (TNPFTC), and he had sought direction from the court to the State government to penalise the offending company.
The court admitted the plea and directed the Health Department to proceed against Dhanush’s film production company on the grounds that implementation of the Act was lacking. The Madras High Court Justice SM Subramaniam also ordered the government to sensitise the authorities to exercise vigil over such illegalities and irregularities.
Health Dept to proceed against film production firm
As per the order, the state government will have to constitute a competent committee under Section 25 of the Act and ensure the panel’s functioning without fail.
The advertisement out by Wunderbar Films for its movie was in violation of the rule, and it is punishable under Section 5 of the 2003 Act, and also Rule 9 (2) of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulations of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) (Amendment) Rules, 2004, as amended in 2011, the petitioner had stated in his plea.
Further to the High Court order, the government has sent a legal notice to the Wunderbar Films. In accordance with provisions of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003, the Tamil Nadu Health Department has also initiated action against the actor’s film production firm.
With the writ petition has been pending, further action is expected to follow. What action will be taken will be known in the days ahead.