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Former Censor Board chief Pahlaj Nihalani condemns for endorsing pan masala

‘While on one hand the very known saleable actor is telling public not to spend on cigarettes, but at the time is recommending paan masala. Very confusing for the impressionable public,’ says Pahlaj Nihalani

Hypocrisy and Bollywood go hand-in-hand. Having known Akshay Kumar for 22 years it comes to me as no surprise that he is now endorsing a cancerous product.

This is the same squeaky-clean actor who in R Balki’s Padman championed the cause of sanitary pads for economically challenged women; every film we see has a government-sponsored advertisement where Akshay is seen counselling a misguided smoker to use his money for his wife’s pads rather than to smoke cigarettes.

“I strongly believe that ad where Akshay schools a common man on how to spend money on sanitary pads should be removed henceforth from films. The Government should seriously think about it. On one hand, a known saleable actor is telling the public not to spend on cigarettes. On the other hand, the same actor is recommending paan masala. Very confusing for the impressionable public,” says Pahlaj Nihalani, not mincing words as he lashes out at actors who sell cancerous products.

“And why just actors? Actresses are using the social media platform to promote nudity. They are outdoing each other posing in bare minimums. Some have even discarded that. It’s a free-for-all out there. Paisa pheko tamasha dekho,” Nihalani seems to be upset with the stars for their mercenary approach to fans.

Nihalani feels the Bollywood stars can never earn the respect that their Southern counterparts do. “There are temples built for stars like Rajinikant, Vijay and Khushboo in the South. And when Yash’s KGF2 released in Mumbai his fans poured milk on his cardboard cutout. Have you ever heard of any Bollywood actor being thus honoured?”

Pahlaj Nihalani doesn’t want to single out only Akshay Kumar for special censure. “Akshay has a very clean image. He is seen as a hero of the masses. Then why is he promoting a brand of paan masala? Others like Govinda and even Pierce Brosnon are promoting what is a proven agent for cancer. If this is not detrimental to national health, what is?”

Shockingly Nihalani reveals that the broadcasting of alcohol and paan masala ads is illegal and unconstitutional. “Law forbids the CBFC from granting certification to paan masala and alcohol ads. Therefore the ads for these products being broadcast are illegal. Actors who are part of such ads should know they’re participating in illegal activity.”

Nihalani reveals that during his tenure as the chairperson of the Central Board Of Film Certification he wrote repeatedly to the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting about these ‘banned’ ads. But got no reply.