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Gowarikar epic Akbar Jodha hits SPCA speedbreaker

SPCA questions if Ashutosh Gowarikar has the requisite permissions of shooting animals for his movie.

November 18, 2006

Ashtosh Gowarikar’s period opus has ran into rough weather with an animal rights oranisation shooting off a letter to the filmmaker asking him if he has obtained permission for using animals in the shooting of ‘Akbar Jodha’ in Rajasthan. 

The letter has come from the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a semi-government body registered with the Animal Welfare Board of India. Gowarikar is using 80 elephants, 160 horses and 65 camels for the shooting of his film in Ramgarh, according to reports. 

The content of the letter said that the SPCA has come to know that Ashutosh’s film company is using animals for the purpose of shooting the film. “ We would like to know if you have prior permission from the AWBI for the purpose," the letter said. Permission needs to be taken from Animal Welfare Board of India for use of animals like horses, camels and elephants in films. 

In the event of the film maker not having got permission, the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is expected take strict action under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960 and the shooting could be stopped. Even if permission is taken, certain standards needed to be fulfilled, including suitable atmosphere for the animals, fixed work hours and presence of veterinary doctors. 

Gowarikar is already facing bad times with the Sri Rajput Karni Sena threatening to disrupt the shooting to protest what it claimed his tampering with historical facts. The Sena has pointed out that Jodhabai was not the wife of Mughal emperor Akbar but in K Asif's Mughal-e-Aazam , she was depicted as his wife. Gowarikar was also doing it the Asif way, which the Sena would not agree saying that the Rajputs were being portrayed wrongly. 

With the current controversy too hindering the shoot, it is doubtful if Ashutosh’s scheduled will run smooth.

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