Woody Allen has pulled his latest movie "Blue Jasmine" from in India because he objects to mandatory anti-tobacco warnings being displayed during smoking scenes, reports said Tuesday.
PVR Pictures, Indian distributor of the critically acclaimed film, said the director considered the required additions -- written warnings that appear on-screen during smoking scenes -- unacceptable, according to Dow Jones Newswires.
India's rules on showing warnings against smoking in films are part of a government drive to curb tobacco use.
Some 1.5 million people could die each year from tobacco use in India by 2020, a report by the International Tobacco Control Project forecast recently.
The country's anti-smoking rules have been challenged on free-speech grounds, but its Supreme Court has upheld the compulsory warnings.
The film, starring Cate Blanchette as a rich widow who falls on hard times after her husband is arrested for fraud, was slated for release in India last weekend.
Critics have declared Blanchette's performance could win her an Oscar, and say that "Blue Jasmine" is Allen's best movie accomplishment in recent years.
The warnings shown during smoking scenes in India are on top of graphic anti-tobacco warnings typically shown before movies start and during intermissions.
The Woody Allen movie has two smoking scenes that would require on-screen warnings in India about the dangers of tobacco use.
PVR Pictures said: "He (Allen) feels like when the scroll comes, attention goes to it rather than the scene," according to an Indian media report.
India has also banned smoking in public places to fight tobacco use but the ban is widely ignored.
Leading Indian filmmaker and producer Shoojit Sircar praised Allen's action.
Sircar said he was "glad Woody Allen took a stand. Those (anti-smoking) visuals are disturbing for viewers," according to Indian television network CNN-IBN.