New Delhi, Jan 28 (IANS) Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss' appeal to movie stars not to smoke on screen as it encourages the youth to pick up the cancerous habit has been rejected by superstar Shah Rukh Khan.
Ramadoss recently appealed to matinee idols Shah Rukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan to stop smoking in movies. However, King Khan Sunday rejected the appeal, saying cinema was all about creative freedom and it should not be curbed by censorships.
'I think there is a huge amount of creative freedom and in the field of art and cinema we should be allowed that. One should not go around picking on little things - because that's just cinema, its make believe and we should not have huge censorship on that,' Shah Rukh was quoted as saying.
'I wish Ramadoss prays that I stop smoking in real life because that's worse. In movies, we just do it for make-believe,' Shah Rukh added.
But the health minister begs to differ. 'The movies are most responsible (for encouraging smoking). When I said movies should not have smoking scenes, we have statistics to show that 52 percent of children have their first puff of a cigarette because of movie celebrities,' the minister told a private news channel.
He was also critical of Shah Rukh for smoking at a cricket match.
Sources close to the actor say he is an incorrigible smoker. The 'Chak De! India' star says those who want him to stop smoking will have to make smoking illegal so that he can be penalised.
'Tell me how many people you have sued in the last two years for smoking in public. I would like to know the number. I feel very bad that I am an icon for the youth and I have a bad habit,' Shah Rukh said.
'I would like to tell people not to do it, but having said that, it is my life, if you want me to change it then make it illegal. I don't do drugs; I don't drink, I don't run red lights; I don't do anything that is illegal,' the actor told a newspaper last year before his birthday.