Shakib Khan, Nisho promote smoking!

Published : 11 May 2023 08:44 PM

Different forms of tobacco advertising and promotional activities are still going on in Bangladesh using film, telefilm, drama and OTT platforms.

Alongside the various dramas and movies, many yet-to-be-released drama and movie posters and advertisements feature smoking scenes prominently, which is the violation of the tobacco control law.  

Tobacco companies tactfully use many actors and actresses and dramas and movies in their advertising to encourage young people to smoke.

Shakib Khan, a national award-winning actor in the Bangladeshi film industry; and Afran Nisho, a popular actor of the small screen; are seen smoking at the first look poster and first look video (teaser) of the duo’s movies, which are set to be released in theatres in the upcoming Eid-ul-Azha.

Shakib Khan and Afran Nisho are blamed for encouraging smoking in violation of the Smoking and Tobacco Products Usage (Control) (Amendment) Act, 2013.

The first look of Shakib Khan’s upcoming film ‘Priyotoma’ was unveiled on Wednesday. Directed by Himel Ashraf, the feature film pairs up Shakib Khan with Kolkata’s Idhika Paul.

Greeting fans on social media, the first look of the film was unveiled with a new poster that shows Shakib Khan with long hair, a long beard and a stern expression on his face while smoking.

Shakib Khan started work on the film ‘Priyotoma’ on May 10. On the first day of shooting, Shakib Khan released the official first look poster of the movie on his verified page on Facebook. 

In the video, Shakib Khan is seen holding a burning cigarette on his lips as well as he is seen smoking. Since the release of this poster, it has gone viral on social media. 

Meanwhile, the teaser of Afran Nisho starrer movie ‘Surongo’ was also revealed on May 10. Raihan Rafi released the teaser of his much-awaited film on social media where audiences get to witness a mysterious Afran Nisho as he jumps into the tunnel. 

The teaser offers a first look at Arfan Nisho’s debut attempt on the big screen.  Toma Mirza starred opposite Afran Nisho. The teaser has amassed more than 2,00,000 views on social media platforms just hours after it was revealed. 

The first look video of the film shows Arfan Nisho smoking just after entering the tunnel. Although Shakib Khan’s poster does not have a health warning for smoking, it is seen in Afran Nisho’s video. 

According to the Section 5 (1) (a) of the tobacco control law, “No person shall publish or cause to be published advertisement of tobacco products in any print or electronic media, books published in Bangladesh, leaflet, handbill, poster, printed paper, billboard or signboard or in any other way.”

The Section 5 (4) says, “If any person contravenes the provisions of this section he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months or a fine which may extend to one lakh taka, or both and if he contravenes the provisions more than once, every time the amount of fine or punishment shall be doubled.”

Some anti-tobacco activists said that Shakib Khan and Afran Nisho and directors of the films violated the law. 

Talking to the Bangladesh Post, Syed Saiful Alam Shovan, a Bangladeshi researcher on tobacco control and director at Inter Press Network (IPN), said the tobacco companies tactfully carry out promotional activities using drama, movie and OTT platforms, so that young people are encouraged to use tobacco. 

“Shakib Khan and Afran Nisho are popular actors of the present time. They are followed by many young people. When those young people see their favourite actors in a smoking scene, many of them will be encouraged to smoke. We demand that these posters and teaser video be removed as well as that smoking scenes should not be shown in the films;” said Syed Saiful Alam Shovan. 

Advocate Syed Mahbubul Alam, a public health lawyer and policy analyst; said that display of smoking scene on posters is a violation of the tobacco control law and a punishable offence. The authorized officer should file cases against violators, he told the Bangladesh Post. 

“I have not seen these yet. If you have copies of the alleged matter, send it to us. If there is a violation of the law, we will definitely take action,” said Hossain Ali Khandaker, an additional secretary of the health ministry and coordinator at the National Tobacco Control Cell (NTCC).  

Himel Ashraf, director of ‘Priyotoma’ movie; said, “I don’t know if there is any warning in the poster or image. If there is such a law, we will definitely edit and give a health warning.”

When asked about the violation of the tobacco control law, Raihan Rafi, director of the film ‘Surongo’; said that smoking scene can be shown with health warning. 

Some anti-tobacco activities said that the smoking scene was not necessary and the health warning was not properly mentioned.