October 19: Bollywood star Mallika Sherawat’s latest film Hisss faces fresh problem, this time, from the Animal Welfare Board of India which has sent a complaint to the Central Board of Film Certification saying that animals were used in the movie without obtaining prior approval from the Board, reports Mumbai Mirror.
The much-awaited movie, more for its special effects, now awaits a report from the Board’s animal welfare officer. The Board has authorised Manoj Oswal, animal welfare officer from AWBI, to investigate and report if any animal has been used in the movie in contravention to Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 and Performing Animals (Registration) Rules, 2001.
Speaking to Mirror, Oswal said, “I will be filing a petition in the High Court today because the production team of the movie never asked for nor received the NOC from the AWBI for using live animals. The Board does not want the movie to be released till the production team comply with the earlier order of the High Court. As per the HC’s order, Public Interest Writ Petition No. 2490 of 2004, PETA vs Union of India, it was ruled that only films with NOC from AWBI be given certificate for release. The judgement is clear and binding making it mandatory for every film (that involves live animals) to carry the NOC from AWBI, before being certified.”
“I also held a meeting with the film producer, Vikram Singh from Split Pictures and distributor Raj Jain from Venus Movies but received no concrete answers from them. It’s not convincing that the film does not use any live animals.
In the entire preview, only three of the 20-odd animal shots involved models and animation. This very aspect of model and animatronics by itself cannot be certified by any prescribed authority under the law.”According to Oswal, of the other 17 shots, the following animals have been used without permission from the board.
“The claims that the shots involved no cruelty to animals is not an acceptable reason to bypass the well laid procedure of law.
It is not necessary that cruelty to animal happens only on screen, for every minute of appearance of the animal, chances are that the animal has spent hours and hours of transport, handling, training etc., it is essential to ensure that no cruelty happened to the animal in that process. The only authority to decide on these aspects in the AWBI.” added Oswal.
Vikram Singh, producer of the film, said, “We have complied with all the rules and regulations. Now why the AWBI has raised so many questions is for them to answer.”
The following animals were used in Hisss:
• Bovine: cows, bulls calfs and buffaloes
• Goats and Sheep
• Elephants: 3 shots — one involving visibly a wild elephant, two involving a captive elephant
• Monkeys and other Primates: a species that has been banned as a performing animal
• Several birds including poultry
• Cobra: in some shots (supposedly) using animatronics in other a live specimen ,