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'Creative liberty cannot absolve Shah Rukh'
January 30, 2008 14:48 IST
An anti-tobacco organisation has rubbished mega star Shah Rukh Khan's [Images] justification of on screen smoking in the guise of "creative liberties" stating that "creativity just cannot escape public scrutiny."
"Creativity just cannot escape public scrutiny and even admonishment, if it tantamounts to social evil. In this case, it is an unadulterated invitation to death itself," Shekhar Salkar, General Secretary, National Organization for Tobacco Eradication (NOTE), said reacting to Shah Rukh's contention.
Shah Rukh, had earlier on Monday responding to Union health minister Ambumani Ramadoss's appeal to Amitabh Bachchan [Images] and Khan to stop setting bad example by smoking in public and in films citing that children have their first puff due to celebrities, said that actors could not be asked to curb their "creative liberties".
"We strongly object to the statement of reel life hero Shah Rukh Khan. It's a pity that Khan had to hide behind the garb of creativity to defend his penchant for smoking unabashedly in the public," Salkar said.
NOTE, a national level anti-tobacco NGO, had earlier sent a legal notice to the actor for smoking in public places including a twenty20 match in Mumbai and Hindustan Times Summit in Delhi.
The NGO had also served legal notice to Amitabh Bachchan taking objection to the huge billboard showing the actor smoking a cigarette.
"Shah Rukh should know that lakhs of Indian youth, who do not think twice before emulating their idol, invariably fall prey to the ill effects of tobacco consumption," the General Secretary said.
"In fact, he should proceed on an unannounced tour of Tata hospital in Mumbai to personally witness the pitiable plight of young and unsuspecting smokers, waiting for the inevitable," he added.
The NGO lauded Aamir Khan [Images] for his decision on smoking.
"Aamir, like Shah Rukh was a habitual smoker. However, his latest film Taare Zameen Par [Images] has admittedly helped him realize the after-effects of his senseless addiction," Salkar said.
"Aamir has worked with young kids in this film, which deals with learning disabilities, he was gracious to admit his follies in the past and quit smoking. Shah Rukh should realize that small things such as this make man great", he added.
Taking a dig at Shah Rukh, NOTE said that mere mention of creativity cannot absolve him, because he remains a compulsive smoker even in his off screen life, often unconcerned about the fact that even these private aspects are subject to constant media glare and thus, public viewing.
Salkar said that today cinema with its advanced techniques and imagery can convey meaningful emotions in a very subtle manner without resorting to crude symbolism. The penchant for creativity can find several non-violent avenues for its release.
Photograph: Getty Images