CHENNAI: Trouble is brewing for actor Karthi’s upcoming film Kadai Kutty Singam, which is being produced by his brother and actor Suriya under the banner 2D Entertainment Limited. The reason: A rekla race was organised as part of the film shooting without obtaining mandatory pre-shoot permission from the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI).
Only recently, Vijay-starrer Mersal had faced widespread criticism for a similar violation and the producers were forced to delete certain scenes in which animals were used. However, 2D Entertainment claimed that in Pudukottai, where the race was held, the collector gave permission and it was organised by the Rekla Federation of Tamil Nadu.
Rekla (bullock cart) races were banned by Supreme Court in 2014 along with Jallikattu. Though, an amendment was made by the Tamil Nadu State legislature to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960 to enable conduct of jallikattu, Rekla race is still considered to be banned since it has not been specifically mentioned in the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Act of 2017.
This was reiterated by AWBI. In its official website, the status of application submitted by M/s 2D Entertainment Private Limited seeking pre-shoot permission to use 211 oxen and cows, 48 cocks and 32 avians is ‘not approved’. The board categorically rejected the application and said: “The applicant is informed that Rekla Race is banned by Supreme Court as it is against the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals”.
The news of Rekla race shooting was broken by none other than actor Suriya himself, who took to Twitter on Tuesday and posted picture with his son watching the race and wrote, “Revisited some beautiful childhood memories with Dev... #Rekla #KKS #KadaiKuttySingam #Nostalgia #Culture.” He also posted a video and wrote, “Shooting spot..! #Rekla #KKS #KadaiKuttySingam #Nostalgia #Culture.” Few of the other crew members have also posted more videos and pictures from the shoot.
Few of the city-based animal rights activists have already picked up the issue and wrote to the AWBI requesting it to take necessary action. When contacted, AWBI chairman SP Gupta told Express that if the violation is proved, then the board would file a formal complaint and ask State government initiate action. As per Section 26 of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, the offender can be punished with a fine which may extend to five hundred rupees, or with imprisonment which may extend to three months, or with both.
In response, 2D Entertainment manager Raja told Express that Rekla races are being conducted all over Tamil Nadu. “District collector of Pudukkottai has given the permission for the race conducted by president of Rekla Federation of Tamil Nadu. Around 140 carts had participated. We used the opportunity for our film shooting,” he said. Raja also said AWBI is wrong in claiming that Supreme Court has banned rekla races.