Bollywood has now been blamed for fuelling India’s love for alcohol. Alcohol use in Bollywood movies is directly influencing the drinking habits of India’s adolescents, according to a new study presented on Friday at the World Congress of Cardiology in Dubai.
Bollywood movies are quitepopular in the UAE and young Emiratis and other nationalities enjoy the stories that show the glitz and glamour of high life among a segment of the Indian society.
Bollywood films already have stringent restrictions on the way alcohol can be portrayed, but according to these researchers it isn’t enough. The study codified 59 popular Bollywood movies by how much alcohol was consumed in them. Nearly 4,000 adolescents were then asked on how many of these films they had seen, and what their own drinking habits were. While overall, the number of underage drinkers was just 10%, by the time all other variables had been accounted for, the ones that had been exposed to the most movies were 1.49 times as likely to have tried alcohol as the least exposed.
“These results show that exposure to alcohol use depictions in Bollywood films is directly associated with alcohol use among young people in India,” said Dr GP Nazar from Health Related Information Dissemination Against Youth (HIRDAY).
“While alcohol advertising is banned in all Indian media and scenes that justify or glorify drinking are not allowed in Bollywood films, there is no dedicated health legislation that prohibits the depiction of alcohol in these films and there is a clear need for an immediate alcohol control policy,” he added.
Dr G.P. Nazar, who presented the study, asserted that there was an urgent need to bring about legislation prohibiting depiction of alcohol in these films.
A WHO study recently said families with frequent drinking husbands in New Delhi spend 24% of family income on alcohol, compared to 2% in other families.
The WHO’s first global report on the burden and impact of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) said alcohol is often a significant part of family expenditure.
Excessive drinking caused 2.5 million deaths worldwide in 2004 — 3.8% of all deaths in the world. More than half of these deaths occurred as a result of NCDs, including cancers, cardiovascular disease and liver cirrhosis.