HYDERABAD: The familiar prescreening note that assures us that no animal was harmed during the shooting of the film and the advancement in computer graphics technology would have us believe that filmmakers are no longer running afoul of the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI). But it seems that many directors are using real animals in the guise of computer generated imagery (CGI).
Following a recent revelation that a filmmaker used a real elephant while shooting despite claiming that it was just graphics, the animal welfare board has decided to undertake stringent checks before giving pre-shooting permissions and no objection certificates before certification by CBFC for Hindi and south Indian language films. If need be, legal action will be taken in instances where an animal was harmed, it said.
The AWBI has also issued notices to a few filmmakers who misguided the board by claiming that the animals depicted in their films were computer graphics. Makers of Malayalam film ‘Abhiyude Katha Anuvinteyum’ and Tamil film ‘Abiyum Anuvum’ were asked as to why legal action cannot be initiated against them for showing a real elephant but claiming it as graphics. In the case of Naga Shourya’s Telugu film ‘Chalo’ too, the filmmakers had claimed that a goat was animated when it was real. Following this, the film was not approved.
Apart from withholding approvals, AWBI has also issued orders not to depict cock fight, dogfight, cow slaughter, among others, and put forward several conditions while granting approvals. While giving nod to Chiranjeevi’s ‘Sye Raa, Narasimha Reddy’, the board set a condition that shooting shall take place only in the presence of animal welfare board officers.
Members of the film fraternity, however, say the stringent AWBI is making their job tough. “We have strong objections regarding the whole system of NOCs and permission granted by the Animal Welfare Board of India. We have raised the issue at CBFC, but the entire film industry has to make representations on this. The issue is that the board office is located in Chennai. Film producers have to go all the way there for approvals and commission agents are exploiting this. The AWBI should set up regional offices in all states so that filmmakers can apply locally as well. Also, the board meets twice or thrice a month. It should meet more frequently to clear pre-shoot permission and issue NOCs,” national-level member of Central Board of Film Certification and actress, Jeevita Rajasekhar, told TOI .
“It is true that some filmmakers are using real animals and claiming they are animated. Due to the wrongdoing of a few film producers, the industry is getting a bad name. Crores of rupees are being invested into films. Hundreds of technicians and artists depend on this for their livelihood. The government gets huge taxes and revenue. They should think of coming out with ease of making business rules,” she added.
Animal rights activists are elated about the animal welfare board’s move. “Wherever animals are used for commercial purposes, we have to ensure their rights are protected. Stringent action has to be initiated against violators. AWBI has been asking NGOs and senior animal welfare officers to be present during shootings. For instance, I was present at Ramoji Film City during Bahubali 2 and ensured that there was no violation. Regarding the producers who violated rules and used real animals while claiming it to be animated ones, they must be punished with fines. NOC should not be issued to them,” Vasanthi Vadi, founder president of Peoples for Animals Hyderabad, told TOI.
Date : 11 December 2017