Sinhala Movie "Adaraneeya Kathavak" Accused of Violating the NATA Act

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Background

Adaraneeya Kathawak (English: A melody of Love) is a 2016 Sri Lankan movie in Sinhala language. Directed by Priyantha Colombage, it was co-produced by Priyantha Kolambage and Chaminda Gamage.

Both Priyantha Kolambage and Chaminda Gamage are executives in the marketing and advertisement industry. Insights Pvt. Ltd. headed by Chaminda Gamage listed a beer company as one of their clients in their website.[1][2]

The film, influenced by Bollywood romantic musical Aashiqui 2 premiered on 10th June 2016 at the Colombo Regal Cinema.[3] [4][5]

Direct and Indirect Promotions of Tobacco and Alcohol

The movie had scenes depicting consumption of tobacco and alcohol. The promotional trailer of the movie (Image 1) featured the main character (Hemal Ranasinghe) drinking alcohol with a cigarette in his hand.

Image 1: The promotional trailer of ‘’Adaraneeya Kathavak’’ depicting its main character holding a cigarette in his hand.[6]

Tobacco Advertisements are Prohibited in Sri Lanka

Scientific evidence reveals that youth exposed to tobacco advertising and promotion hold positive attitudes towards tobacco use, increasing their risk of initiation and sustenance of the habit. Thus, Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) recommends complete ban of tobacco advertisement, promotion and sponsorship. You can read more in our page FCTC Article 13: Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship

National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol (NATA) Act, the main legal framework on tobacco and alcohol, prohibits direct and indirect advertisements on tobacco and alcohol. According to the Article 35.1 of NATA Act:

“A person shall not publish or cause to be published, or authorize the publication of, tobacco advertisement or an alcohol advertisement.”

According to the NATA Act, “tobacco advertisement” means:

“any writing, still or moving picture, sign, symbol or distinctive colours or other visual image or any audible message or any combination of the aforesaid that promotes or is intended to promote – smoking, the purchase or use of a tobacco product, a trade mark registered in respect of a tobacco product or articles that include tobacco products, a brand name associated with a tobacco product, the name of the manufacturer of a tobacco product.”

NATA Complaint

The National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol (NATA) filed a police complaint on 21st June 2016 stating that the film violates provisions of the NATA Act on direct and indirect advertisements of tobacco.[7][8]

NATA observed that some scenes violated the legal clause on direct advertisements by displaying trademarks of some cigarette brands (Dunhill). National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol (NATA) reported that the film included 15 scenes promoting tobacco use, thus violating the clause on indirect advertisements as well.[9]

The Court Decisions

The complaint was taken up at Colombo Magistrate’s Court. At the first hearing, the court ordered the director, National Film Corporation Chairman and Majestic Cinema Manager to provide a full-length version of the movie to the police to observe scenes promoting tobacco, violating the section 35 of the NATA Act. This was in the context of film Director Priyantha Colombage reporting that he didn’t have a copy of the film to handover to the courts.[10][11][12][13]

In the next hearing, the Police confirmed that the alleged film contained such scenes and included promotive scenes of Dunhill Cigarette brand.[14][15]

Colombo Additional Magistrate Nishantha Pieris refused to issue an interim order banning the screening of the film as NATA requested, stating “film should be considered as a whole”. The verdict received wide media coverage.[16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29][30][31][32][33]

The Director Priyantha Colombage, main actor Hemal Ranasinghe and supporting actor Bimal Jayakody criticized the National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol (NATA) for the litigation.[34] [21][22][25][23][24][35][26][27][36] [28][32][33]

Tobacco Unmasked Resources

Notes

  1. Insights.lk. package design, undated, accessed October 2018
  2. Creative Forces. Director, 2018, accessed October 2018
  3. Adaraneeya Kathawak, wikivisually.com, 8 June 2017, accessed August 2017
  4. Daily news. Adaraneeya Kathawak premier, 24 June 2016, accessed January 2018
  5. Regal Cinema Facebook Page. Adaraneeya Kathawak Premiere, 9 June 2016, accessed January 2018
  6. Cinema.lk. Adaraneeya Kathawak Official Teaser Trailer, undated, accessed January 2018
  7. Sri Lanka Brief. No Ban Against Film ‘Adaraneeya Kathawak’, 12 July 2016, accessed August 2017
  8. Shehan Chamika Silva. Spotlight on Adaraneeya Kathawak over violation of Tobacco Alcohol Act, Daily Mirror, 03 July 2016, accessed December 2017
  9. S Kumari, Dinamina.11 July 2016
  10. L Sooriyagoda Film Adaraneeya Kathavak violates statutory laws: Tobacco and Alcohol Authority, Daily News, 01 July 2016, accessed August 2017
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  12. SC Silva, Violation of Tobacco, Alcohol Act. Director, producer of ‘ Adaraneeya Kathawak’ questioned, Daily Mirror, 9 July 2017, accessed August 2017
  13. SC Silva Spotlight on Adaraneeya Kathawak over violation of Tobacco, Alcohol Act, Hulft's Dorp, 01 July 2016, accessed August 2017
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  16. Ll Sooriyagoda. A Melody of Love can Continue, Daily News, 13 July 2017, accessed August 2017
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