Tamil Nadu’s Public Health Department will review any and all action taken by Sarkar team to remove posters that show lead actor Vijay smoking. An official attached to the department told Silverscreen, “We have heard that the objectionable images have been taken down by the production house and everybody else involved. However, the images are still circulating on all social media. This is a concern as it will influence the minds of young men who are inspired by their star. They might want to mimic him and end up with a dangerous hobby that takes many lives each year. The legal notice was sent with this in mind,” he said.
In response to criticism that Vijay was singled out for his star power, the official said:
“The legal notice was not meant to single out Vijay as mentioned in many news articles. It is true that Vijay’s reach as a star is greater, and hence more influential. For a star as big as he is, to promote smoking through his films is not in keeping with his public image of a do-gooder. The department takes all violations very seriously, and it was on this basis that the Sarkar team were notified. Many films were asked to take down smoking images and scenes. They did not reach the media as they were not as popular as Sarkar,” he added.
Sarkar’s poster was launched earlier this month. The film’s makers and its male lead, Vijay, were criticised by politician Dr Anbumani Ramadoss. He accused them of promoting smoking. Ramadoss tweeted that the actor would look more stylish without a cigarette in his hand.
Following this, a social activist filed a police complaint against the Sarkar team. However, it was the legal notice sent by the TN Public Health Department that spurred the team to remove the poster.