Bollywood finds loophole to use banned tiger performing animals
Actor Ajay Devgn fighting the Bengal tiger to protect his lady love in the recently released Himmatwala may have won hoots of appreciation from the audience, but has left the information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry in a fix with animal rights board and filmmakers on a collusion course.
The tiger along with lion, bear, monkey, panther and bull are among the animals banned from being exhibited as performing animals according to a 1998 central government notification. The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) has protested against the growing trend of filmmakers using a loophole in the notification and shooting the scenes abroad. For instance, the tiger scene in Himmatwala was shot in Mauritius.
According to sources, the AWBI has argued that films with banned animals should not be screened in India irrespective of where the scene has been shot. Sources said that since the parts of the film were not shot in India the filmmakers either did not take a no-objection certificate as required from the AWBI or used animals banned under Indian law. The film industry, on the other hand, has reasoned that since it has not broken any Indian law, it cannot be penalized for it. Ministry sources are of the view that since the ban should apply on films regardless of where they are shot.