The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bachchan says sorry for cigar pose

Mumbai, Jan. 10: Amitabh Bachchan has apologised to an anti-tobacco organisation for a promo of his film Family, in which he appears with a cigar dangling between his lips.

The superstar’s spokesperson could not be contacted but the National Organisation for Eradication of Tobacco-India (NOTE-India) confirmed he had apologised in a written note and said it was done without his knowledge.

“Amitabh Bachchan said the campaign was launch- ed without his knowledge and the responsibility was with the producers of the film,” the organisation’s secretary, Shekhar Salkar, said in Panaji.

“He said he does not drink or smoke in real life and he wouldn’t like his films to give that impression.”

The organisation may, however, not withdraw the threat of legal action against the film, which it had stated in its notice to the actor.

Bachchan and the electrical goods manufacturing firm Anchor ' part producers of the film ' were served the legal notices last week. They were given eight days to reply.

The notice said the promo violated the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003, as it showed Bachchan smoking a cigar.

“NOTE has taken strong objection to the hoarding displayed along the national highway near Panaji city which advertises the yet-to-be released film Family along with Anchor appliances,” Salkar had then said.

The hoarding appeared on December 25 and was taken off on January 1 when the organisation issued an advertisement in local newspapers pointing to the violation of the act, which relates to prohibition of advertisement and regulation of trade and commerce, production, supply and distribution of tobacco products.

The cigar apart, the Raj Kumar Santoshi film has been plagued by Bachchan’s health problems. Producers Anchor and Keshu Ramsay are believed to be harassed because the actor has yet to complete an hour of dubbing.

Family is the story of two warring families in which Bachchan’s character, a gangster with coloured hair, finds out rather late in the day that life is not worth it if there is no love and family. It also features Akshay Kumar and newcomer Aryemaan (Ramsay’s son).

Earlier this week, Bachchan was in a spot of bother after the Central Board of Direct Taxes denied it had sent taxmen to hound him for dues when he was in hospital in November.

The actor had alleged he was asked to cough up Rs 5 crore and the orders “came from Delhi”. The board said the notices were sent to him through speed post before he was hospitalised on November 28.

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