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Our Rich Traditional Culture and Literature VS Animal Welfare Board of India. (Articles on Cinema by Bobby Sing)

31 Aug, 2013 | Articles on Cinema

Many writers, critics, film-buffs, bloggers and veterans of the film industry too, have often mentioned that India has such a diverse range of literature in its different languages, which hasn’t been presented before our younger generation at all. This includes several enlightening & life transforming short stories, novels, plays, poems and a lot more hidden in those forgotten archives which are worthy and deserving enough to be adapted in the new expressive formats such as serials, movies and short films for the new generation, innocently unaware of their rich heritage.
Articles on CinemaBut recently I was informed about a very sad and disappointing kind of problem, being faced by some genuine film-makers who are willing enough to adapt these precious traditional gems for the silver screen with their own minimum resources and wider visions. The problem is related to a very reputed and responsible organization known as ANIMAL WELFARE BOARD OF INDIA but before going into the issue, I would like to share one relevant piece of information with all the young readers here about a common link found in our rich & insightful traditional culture of India, followed in all the rural areas of the country in its distinctive regions like Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Garhwal, Jammu and many more.
And that important link is the lovable relationship of our farmers or villagers with their beloved animals. Now these animals may be cows, bulls, camels, donkeys, mules, buffaloes, goats, dogs and even more. But if you have ever been to a village then you must be aware that despite being animals they are just treated like family with an equal amount of love & affection showered upon them, as felt for all the other family members of the house impartially. In fact, in most of the cases they are just like the kids, who get huge amount of love from all the family members together and become an invisible binding force of the house quite lovingly.
To be precise, our Indian traditional stories and folk tales are simply incomplete without the contribution made by these friendly living beings and life in villages cannot be even thought for a second without them being there with us in our fields, farms and narrow village lanes. So the moment one thinks of making a short film, serial or a movie based on any of those enlightening stories of one of our renowned writers of the past (talking about the village life), then one has to bring in those animals too, very thoughtfully used as some special characters in a story by its writer. And this is exactly where the problem actually begins.
From the last decade, ANIMAL WELFARE BOARD OF INDIA has become quite strict upon use of animals in cinematic expressions and they have some elaborate specifications to be fulfilled before casting an animal in your feature. For instance, even if you are ready to take all the necessary precautions while shooting with a real farmer with his own animals (brought up like his kids), owned from years without any registrations made anywhere with the authorities. You are still required to satisfy a lot of conditions specified by the Board and then only can commence the shoot after taking the right approval or NOC as required.
Now, no doubt it is quite right and understandable too that there does exists a noble motive behind these restrictions imposed by the Board, aiming at stopping animal cruelty and their exploitation while using them for any film shooting. Yet the need of the hour is to make these rules a little flexible and easily doable at least for the projects which are being made with a vision of taking our rich literature forward to the present generation. These certain liberties granted especially to such rare projects would surely encourage many small or debutant film-makers, who are just willing to share these stories with the new-age youth by shooting them within their limited budgets without the help of any professional producers as such.
In other words, if we really wish to introduce the younger generation with our rich literature of the past then we do need to ease out things in this particular direction for the sake of both art and heritage together along with the mandatory restrictions on animal cruelty and safety being intact. Our cultural roots have a deep & inseparable relation with these animals living along with us from ages and these stories need to be presented before the young minds well in time, before its too late.  
To give you an example, if a fresh, debutant film-maker wishes to make a short film on Premchand’s “Do Baillon Ki Katha”, in which there are Heera & Moti as the two key characters or another is willing to make a series on “Mulla Naseeruddin” who always travelled riding his donkey. Then the director would first have to go through the long process of taking NOCs putting all his energy & effort into it, which will possibly take away his newly found enthusiasm of bringing alive the rich literature of our country on the celluloid in the first step itself.
So with this write-up I sincerely wish that the authorities of our ANIMAL WELFARE BOARD OF INDIA see to their set rules and restrictions with this particular angle related to our Indian Literature and then make some specific provisions for the same as desired.
With a hope that we would realize the importance of this issue soon!
bobby sing
Sutta Naag(This article was written after one of my dear friend, Amardeep Singh Gill’s self funded & directed short Punjabi movie “SUTTA NAAG” (Sleeping Snake) was caught in this complicated web of restrictions for only one scene wherein a husband is taking his wife to another village, who is riding a camel. The film is based on the short story of Punjab’s reputed writer Late Ram Sarup Ankhi and in those days camel was actually used as means of transportation in real life.)

The trailer of short film “Sutta Naag” can be seen at the following link :
And the set of instructions given by the Animal Welfare Board of India can be accessed at the following link :

Tags : Our Rich Traditional Culture and Literature VS Animal Welfare Board of India, Articles on Cinema by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, Use of Animals in films, Restrictions on Use of Animals in Films, Thoughtful articles on Cinema by Bobby Sing, Sutta Naag, Short Traditional Stories, Premchand.
31 Aug 2013 / Comment ( 0 )
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