Bollywood: victim or ally?
A study on the portrayal of tobacco in Indian Cinema
Bollywood,- as the mainstream Hindi language film producing industry is popularly known, - is the largest producer of films in India. The Indian film industry produces over 900 films per year in many languages. Mainstream Indian films target an estimated 250 million youngsters in India alone. Additionally the films appeal to millions of Diaspora Indians in South Asia, the Middle-East, parts of the UK, US, Africa and Europe. It is evident that the size and popularity of this industry has the power to influence the behaviour and attitudes of millions of people in India and around the world. It is also increasingly evident that tobacco companies are turning to the film and entertainment industry to market their deadly product.
India, with its billion-strong population and nearly 250 million tobacco users, is one of the prime target markets for tobacco companies. Cigarette users comprise just 14% of the total tobacco using population. This presents a big opportunity for cigarette manufacturers who are increasingly looking at youth to grow their sales. The 15-24 year old population stands at 199.2 million and is projected to grow to 231 million by 2013 . Nearly 5 million children under the age of fifteen are addicted to tobacco. According to the National Family Health Survey, 29% of the India’s adult male population and 2.5% of India’s adult female population smoke and 28% of India’s male population and 12% of India’s female population consume other forms of tobacco.