31 May 2021: World No-Tobacco Day: Revisiting Anurag Kashyap's neo-noir thriller 'No Smoking'
Anurag Kashyap's neo-noir psychological thriller No Smoking didn't click, but the film gave the message it intended to, in a sinister manner. Based on Quitters, Inc. by Stephen King, the movie became the first Hindi-language venture to adapt one of King's haunting stories. On World No-Tobacco day, we explore how the film made a point, through gore and violence, about the ill-effects of smoking.
Plot: John Abraham is a chain smoker looking for redemption
The 2007 flick tells the story of K (John Abraham), an egoistic chain smoker, who reluctantly agrees to kick the butt, in order to save his marriage to Anjali (Ayesha Takia). His addiction is brilliantly portrayed by showing him either lighting or smoking in every frame, a thing that he does even while having sex! Eventually, his friends suggest him Prayogshala, a rehabilitation center.
Details: K's smoking is too much to handle for everyone
There, he meets Baba Bengali (Paresh Rawal). While giving the reference, his friends, who were addicts once, shared with him that they magically got cured by Baba. But how it happened remained a puzzle. We see that getting solved as the story unravels. And, it's distressing, because the film blurs the line between real and fantasy, while incorporating dark humor to further the theme.
Verdict: The de-addiction techniques become more morbid than the addiction itself
Sample this: Punishments for relapsing include keeping a loved one, for a full five minutes, in a chamber, which would be filled with smoke of the number of cigarettes a person (in this case K) has fired in his whole life. Getting one's fingers chopped off, constant surveillance, or/and witnessing the killing of a loved one are the other horrible punishments of relapse.
Other movies: 'Quitter's Inc.' also played with the psychological delusion trope
Its base model too played with such scare tactics and psychological delusion. In it, Quitters, Inc. inflicts physical pain on its inmates and their kin, and we see how Dick Morrison, the protagonist, feels scared to even light up a cigarette after this program. After a long time, there's a momentary relapse on Morrison's part, which leads to his wife getting tortured, mafia-style.
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