Even as the crew members of ‘KGF Chapter 2’, an upcoming Kannada-era action film written and directed by Prashanth Neel, bask in the glory of its teaser which has received over 132 million views on YouTube since its Jan. 7 release, Karnataka’s Health Department has issued a showcause notice to Yash, the film’s lead actor, who plays protagonist Rocky Bhai in the film.
The teaser has a scene where Yash detonates a row of automobiles with a machine gun and lights a cigarette with the barrel of the red pistol.
According to the notice, according to the statutory requirement, it is mandatory to display a warning on the screen with the caption “Smoking is harmful to health”, but neither the teaser nor the advertising posters display such a message.
“The teaser and posters encourage smoking,” the advisory said and called on Yash to take action to remove the teaser from social media platforms.
“Yash, you are thrilling and you have a huge fan following you. Your actions must not mislead young people. We want you to join our campaign against smoking,” the notice reads.
Meanwhile, the scene in question has gone viral on social media, and Yash fans are sharing screenshots of the scene.
Shortly after the teaser was released on various online platforms, the Karnataka State Tobacco Control Unit disapproved of footage showing Yash lighting a cigarette.
In its letter to the health department, the cell had argued that the images of the actor smoking a cigarette violated Article 5 of Cigarettes and other tobacco products (ban on advertising and regulation of trade and commerce, production, supply and distribution) 2003, also known as COTPA 2003, and requested the removal of the teaser from online platforms.
“The actor has a lot of fans, especially among the young people. If he smokes (on screen), people will imitate him. So, we ask them to remove the teaser from online platforms and also movie posters, “the letter said.
A letter challenging the visuals of the teaser has been sent to director Prashant Neel, Yash, producer Vijay Kiragandur and the Karnataka Cinema Chamber of Commerce.
The Cell, however, will not ask the filmmakers to remove the scene from the film.
The film will be released in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam. “KGF Chapter 1,” released in 2018, won two national awards in 2019 for best action and best special effects.