The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) has issued a show-cause notice to the makers of Tamil movie Eeswaran after the movie’s recently released trailer and poster featured a Computer Generated Image (CGI) of a snake. On November 16, AWBI Secretary SK Dutta issued a notice to Madhav Media, Tamil production house which is one of the producers of the film, and a copy of the notice was forwarded to the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).
The notice stated, “It is brought to the knowledge of the Board that Eeswaran, a Tamil movie, has recently released its trailer and poster in which a computer-generated snake (look-a-like Indian cobra) is being used without obtaining no objection certificate (NOC) from the Board”. The notice directed the filmmakers to stop the circulation of trailer and poster forthwith and submit an explanation in writing within 7 days.
The notice said that movie trailer and poster was in direct violation of the Performing Animals (Registration) Rules, 2001 as they showed the computer-generated snake as a medium of entertainment without obtaining pre-shoot permission or NOC from the board.
Earlier a complaint was filed against the movie by a forest activist
The notice comes after a complaint was filed by an animal activist with the Tamil Nadu forest department against the Silambarasan starrer movie for allegedly using a real snake during its shoot. After the forest department began an enquiry on the complaint, a clarification was issued by the team of the film on November 13 that they had used a fake plastic snake during a shooting, which was made to look like real using computer graphics.
“Truly we shot the scene using a fake plastic snake. That was made to seem like a real snake in the movie using graphics. The news and stills about this scene have not been made public with the permission of the production team. This video was taken when we were using computer graphics and got leaked. From our side we are investigating as to how this video got leaked”, read the statement issued by film’s team.
The statement further said, “Based on a complaint filed by an activist, forest ranger officer Clement Edison has called us for an enquiry. We have completely complied with the enquiry and we have given an explanation from our side. We have also informed them that we will provide the necessary evidence soon. The shooting for the movie is being carried out in accordance to the guidelines provided by the Tamil Nadu government”.
According to The New Indian Express, Clement Edison told that the makers of the movie have not yet replied to the notice. They have claimed that the snake was computer generated and the required approvals were obtained. They have been asked to produce records within a week’s time which ends on this weekend.
Why NOC is required
An AWBI official told media that the NOC was essential because the computer-generated image looked so real that it was hard to distinguish it from the real animal. “Today, CG looks so real that you won’t be able to distinguish it from the real animal. That is why film units have to take NOC from us. Sometimes, they use stock-shots of animals running in the wild and merge them with the film. That is allowed because the animals are not performing and they are in their natural state. But even then, a film unit has to get a NOC”. He said that until the filmmakers obtain the NOC they would have to stop the circulation of the trailer.
“Even for using CG, a film unit has to take permission and NOC from AWBI. The problem here is they haven’t taken proper permission before releasing their trailer. We’ve to look into whether they were unaware of these things, or if they had applied and if we haven’t got the application for whatsoever reason. We’ve given the show cause notice with regard to that. Let them give us the reply and then, we’ll see what action needs to be taken depending on that,” the official said.
Film’s team applied for NOC 20 days ago:
A production executive of Madhav Media told Times of India that they had applied for the NOC with the AWBI 20 days ago when even the posters of the movie were not released. “We were going to submit the video proof and documents from our side on Thursday, but before that, we got the show-cause notice from the AWBI. We think they have sent us this notice after the complaint was filed with the forest department. Actually, we had applied for NOC with them 20 days ago- even before releasing the posters online. But we put them out before we could get the NOC. That said, NOC is usually required only to release the film, not the poster”.