Photo by PERDIANSYAH/AFP via Getty Images
Production problems at upcoming movie Varisu have continued as the Animal Welfare Board Of India (AWBI) issued a statement claiming five elephants had been filmed without legal permission.
2022 has been a phenomenal year for Indian cinema and if the hype, expectation, and current schedule is anything to go by; 2023 should be just as epic.
One of the more highly anticipated films of the New Year is Vijay’s Varisu, which is set to release on January 12 in accordance with the Pongal celebrations.
Unfortunately, the production of Varisu has been plagued with issues, the most recent one concerning the filming of Elephants as part of the movie without legal permission.
Animal Welfare Board of India issues show cause notice to #Varisu producers- Hyderabad based Venkateswara Creations- for using 5 elephants without pre-shoot permission, which violates the Performing Animals (Registration) Rules 2001.
AWBI seeks explanation within 7 days.
According to a report by The Times of India, the Varisu production is already in hot water with the AWBI for allegedly using Elephants without prior express permission.
The article, written by Komal Gautham, explains how the AWBI has received a complaint regarding the illegal shooting (filming) of animals, specifically performing animals by Venkateswara Creations – the team behind Varisu.
“Every person has to register with the board if the animals are being exhibited or trained. It is also informed that exhibiting animals without permission of the board is an offense under Section 26 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. The Elephants are protected under Schedule-I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. And as per the Rule 7(2) of the Performing Animals (Registration) Rules, 2001, it is necessary to obtain prior permission for using performing animals in films.” – Animal Welfare Board of India, via The Times of India.
The letter that was sent from the AWBI to the Varisu production team has since been published by various outlets, including the LetsCinema Twitter page. Here, it is confirmed that a total of five Elephants have been alleged to feature in the movie, and that permission for each of these animals was not acquired before filming.
The Varisu team has seven days to respond to the letter, after which The Times of India reports that “AWBI shall take any or all such action as it may deem to consider proper and necessary for the welfare of the animals.”
Animal Welfare board issues notice to #Varisu for not obtaining proper permissions to shoot with Elephants in the film. pic.twitter.com/9IGeCK5ym9
Unfortunately, the issues concerning the production of Varisu are following another controversy involving the film’s eventual release; set for Pongal 2023 in both Tamil and Telugu.
In early November, per The Entertainment Times of India, the Telugu Film Producers Council issued a statement that mentioned preference would be given to Telugu films over other dubbed and bilingual releases.
“Therefore, the Telugu Film Producers Council requests the exhibitors to invariably implement this decision: ‘Only Telugu straight Films should be given preference during the festivals of Sankranthi and Dassera for screening in theatres and the remaining may be given to dubbed Telugu movies’.” – Telugu Film Producers Council, via The Hindustan Times.
Since the announcement, many within the movie industry have come out in support of actor Vijay’s Varisu and requested the Telugu Film Producers Council to rethink the decision.
Director Lingusamy has also shared his view on the issue, adding how no film in the modern cinema industry should experience this level of controversy during its release.
The Telugu Film Producers Council should reconsider the decision and added that when ‘KGF 2’ clashed at the box office with ‘Beast’ in January 2023, there was no prior issue from the council, he reportedly said.
Fingers crossed that Varisu can escape further controversy as we countdown to the film’s release in early 2023.
By Tom Llewellyn – [email protected]
In other news, Kantara release date for OTT streaming and platform confirmed