CHENNAI: A video of actor Simbu handling a cobra during the movie shoot of his upcoming flick 'Eeswaran' has triggered a huge controversy. Snakes are not allowed to be used as performing animals in movies and if the charges are proven, it would be a violation under Wildlife (Protection) Act.
In the video, Simbu with his new lean look was seen capturing the Cobra snake from a tree and securing it in a gunny bag with the help of two others. A formal complaint has been lodged with the forest department by a Chennai-based animal rights activist and former member of performing animals sub-committee. A separate complaint was also filed with the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI).
"The snake in the video looks real and appears like it has been defanged or drugged. This amounts to animal cruelty," the complainant said.
When contacted, Chennai forest ranger Clement Edison told The New Indian Express that a complaint has been received and enquiry is being made. Chief Wildlife Warden CH Padma said the genuineness of the video has to be first ascertained, besides whether the snake in the visual is a real one or computer graphics.
Meanwhile, a source close to Simbu confirms that the matter was being discussed with the forest department and they were not in a position to add anything further at this stage.