Vijay Under Fire Again, This Time Over Cigarette Poster for 'Sarkar'

The notice states that the poster should be removed from all mediums immediately, and if not, the state government would initiate actions against the actor and the filmmaker.

Chennai: A year after battling delays and controversy over his movie ‘Mersal’, actor Vijay has become the subject of a raging debate over his upcoming movie Sarkar, a poster for which shows the star with a cigarette tucked between his lips.

The poster was tweeted by Vijay on Thursday. The film has been directed by AR Muragadoss, who is teaming up with the actor after Thuppakki and Kaththi, both of which were hits.

The poster has revived the debate over celebrities smoking on-screen, with critics saying impressionable and young fans may view this as their icon’s endorsement of a hazardous habit.

The first to object was former Union health minister and second-in-command of Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) Anbumani Ramadoss. Taking to Twitter, Ramadoss said Vijay would have looked “more stylish” without the cigarette.

It was during Ramadoss’ stint at the Centre from 2004-2009 that smoking was banned on-screen. His party has been known for its stiff anti-tobacco stance, having taken on superstar Rajinikanth for smoking a ‘beedi’ in his 2002 dud Baba.

The controversy over Sarkar poster is the second to dodge Vijay within a span of one year. His 2017 release Mersal had into political trouble with the BJP objecting to certain dialogues and scenes perceived as mocking the implementation of GST.

Sarkar has been produced by Sun Pictures, which is owned by Kalanidhi Maran, a relative of DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi.