‘Gaanja Shankar’ runs into NDPS block, Telangana Anti-Narcotics Bureau issues notices to actor Dharam Tej, others

TSNAB said the trailer of the movie revealed that the protagonist was into the ganja business.

BySouth First Desk

Published Feb 18, 2024 | 2:57 PMUpdatedFeb 18, 2024 | 2:57 PM

Sai Dharam Tej. (Wikimedia Commons)

The Telangana Anti-Narcotics Bureau (TSNAB) has issued a notice to actor Sai Dharam Tej, and the director and producer of the upcoming Telugu movie, Gaanja Shankar.

Taking umbrage at the movie title, TSNAB Director Sandeep Shandilya instructed the filmmakers to drop Gaanja from the title and delete any scene that depicts the sale or use of cannabis.

The notice — also marked to directors, producers, and movie artists’ bodies — said the TSNAB believed that the movie “potentially inciting or abetting the crime of narcotics consumption inviting penal consequences to the movie makers”.

Shandilya said the trailer of the movie revealed that the protagonist, portrayed by Dharam Tej, “is a vagabond who does leafy vegetable business and the pictorials of ganja plant are shown indicating that the leafy vegetable business done by the protagonist is ganja”.

Also Read: Pawan Kalyan teased me on the sets of ‘Bro’, says Sai Dharam Tej

Notice details NDPS Act

The notice, issued on Friday, 16 February, also detailed Section 8 (prohibition of certain operations) of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPC) Act, 1985.

It further said that depicting the protagonist as involved in the ganja business and glorifying his acts, would create a negative impact on the viewers, especially students and youth.

Shandilya pointed out that certain scenes normalise and glamourise the use of narcotics, particularly among the youth, and “serves to abet the commission of such crimes by indirectly endorsing and encouraging their consumption”.

He added that such glamorising portrayals could have “detrimental effects on impressionable viewers, particularly young audience and on the society by influencing their attitudes and behaviours towards drug use”.

Also Read: Ganja chocolates’ selling for ₹10 in Telangana

TSNAB warns of legal action

The TSNAB said it was expecting the movie makers to refrain from depicting any scenes “where the consumption, sale, peddling, and supply of narcotic ganja is glorified and shown as heroic acts”.

The notice further urged the makers to abstain from such acts which could have deleterious effects on the younger generation.

The bureau warned that legal action under the provisions of the NDPS Act, 1985, would be initiated if the movie violated its directive.

Besides Dharam Tej, director Sampath Nandi and producer S Nagavamshi were served the notice. The movie is slated for a 22 March release.

Incidentally, a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment reported in September last that Telangana had 29 lakh drug users, including 1.90 regular cannabis users.