The first look of Sarkar that saw Vijay brandishing a black cigarette against a skyscraper backdrop, gathered widespread criticism for ‘promoting’ smoking, especially from political parties.
This was in gross violation of the provisions of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulations of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 that prohibits any person under a contract or otherwise from promoting or agreeing to promote the use or consumption of cigarettes or any other tobacco products. Further, it was observed that the poster did not contain the required certification prescribed by the Tamil Nadu Compulsory Censorship of Publicity Materials Act, 1987.
Pursuant to a notice from Tamil Nadu’s Health Department to the makers of the film ‘Sarkar’ in connection with the poster, the said poster was reportedly removed from the digital media including the official social media pages of Sun Pictures, actor Vijay and director A. R. Murugadoss.
However, a writ petition has reportedly been filed in the Madras High Court to direct the actor and producers of Tamil film Sarkar to pay a compensation of Rs 10 crore each to the cancer block of a government hospital, claiming the poster in clear violation of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003.
The petitioner contended, “The image of the actor in the State, his character inside and outside the cinema industry, is an example for his fans. Such publicity shows their lack of interest in the welfare of public at large by both defying the law and creating a bad picture of heroism”.
Allowing the petition, the first bench comprising of the Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice P T Asha ordered notice to the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the State government and the Central Board of Film Certification, returnable by July 16, 2018.
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