Heath Minister and the Celebrities – Part I

Our Health Minister is on a roll. Not quite content with chopping off smoking scenes from films and enforcing about a zillion restrictions on smokers, he has now decided to turn to other ‘serious’ health related issues. If you were expecting a nationwide ‘eradicate hepatitis’ campaign or a massive crackdown on fake drugs, you are in for a disappointment. The Minister clearly considers these maladies too petty for his attention.

What has attracted his attention this time is Saif Ali Khan (Shahrukh did not seem too cooperative when, on being told by the minister to quit smoking, curtly told the latter to mind his own business.). In the Minister’s second attempt at having a circle of Bollywood sycophants, he closes in on Saif. Saif Ali Khan finds himself in the thick of controversy, not for being on dope or possessing illegal firearms, but for endorsing potato chips! One, however, must not despair at this slightly anti-climactic denouement of Saif’s story. I am sure in the coming months we can expect many more such gimmicks which will make Saif’s tragedy whither away in comparison. I have a feeling that the Minister has already prepared a list of celebrities he plans to target. Following is a probable conversation that took place between the Minister and his assistant who helped him prepare his ‘list’.

Ramadoss: Doesn’t matter if the first two didn’t quite work. Many more to go… Kareena and Katrina are endorsing some hair removing products. Give me some statistics. I’ll show them who the boss is around here.

P.A.: I have the statistics ready sir; 52% of children below 17 years want to get their body hair removed (including boys sir!) after watching Kareena and Katrina in the commercials. It shows a dangerous trend.

Ramadoss: No! Not 52%. We’ve already used that one for tobacco. It might make people suspicious. Make that 47.55. And yeah! Don’t forget to add that it’s cancerous. Also what about Sushmita Sen? Isn’t she endorsing anything? I quite like her.

P.A: Yes sir – shampoo. Rather harmless, sir.

Ramadoss: Hmm…Never mind. It will give a boost to her sagging film career. She might even want an appointment with me. (Gleeful expression). You know what this report should say, don’t you? The usual – known to have harmful chemicals that can cause balding and cancer. I think that should be enough to pronounce shampoos as health hazards. And yes! Have to do something about that Dhoni as well. Chennai lost the last match against Mohali. Find out all the products he endorses and immediately declare them as health hazards! Now!

You might choose to dismiss it as gross exaggeration; but isn’t a similar attitude, if not the exactly the same as mentioned here, reflected in Health Minister’s political stances? This, perhaps, also explains his complete lack of interest in investigating effective solutions of dengue, typhoid and malaria. The minister’s sole purpose seems little else than to have his picture alongside Bollywood stars in the front pages, day after day. And the rate at which Ramadoss is progressing with his editing, deleting, banning processes, it does not seem far far-fetched at all to imagine him making it compulsory for all alcohol bottles and cigarettes in Hindi films to be replaced by green veggies and fruit juices. Now I am sure we can all picture Devdas trying to drown his sorrows in a giant watermelon!

Mitia Nath

[Image Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wiccked/49160179/]