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Health Minister Asks for Bollywood Booze Ban

SCOTT SIMON, host:

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With all that hip-shaking, you'd wonder how anybody in a Bollywood movie could actually consume a drink. But this week, India's health minister Anbumani Ramadoss called for an on-screen ban on booze. Alcohol has become more prevalent in Indian society, and Indian films sometimes reflect that, but Mr. Ramadoss told the Times of India that Bollywood films should strive to set an example for young people by not showing people drinking alcohol on-screen.

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Unidentified Man (Singer): (Singing in foreign language)

SIMON: Alcohol is the mother of all public-health problems in India, he said. Earlier this year he called on actors to stop smoking in front of the camera. But Kumal Nata(ph) disagrees. The editor of the trade journal Film Information says first, Mr. Ramadoss says don't smoke. Now it's don't drink. It's undoable because then what do you show?

Well, it better not be kissing. Onscreen kisses are still taboo in the land of the "Kama Sutra."

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Unidentified Man: (Singing in foreign language) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He is the host of Weekend Edition Saturday and is one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.