‘Ponniyin Selvan’: Hyd Police files FIR against producer Mani Ratnam after horse dies at shoot

The Madras Talkies management and the horse's owner have both been charged by the Abdullapurmet police.


The Abdullapurmet police station in Hyderabad has filed a first information report (FIR) against producer Mani Ratnam and his  the entertainment company Madras Talkies, for the suspected death of a horse during the filming of Ponniyin Selvan, a Tamil feature film. While a FIR was filed against the production company on August 18 for an event that allegedly occurred on August 11, the incident was only discovered on September 2. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India has filed a complaint with the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), which has now reported an investigation into the claimed death.

The AWBI has written to the Hyderabad District Collector and the Telangana State Animal Welfare Board, seeking an investigation into the horse's death, which occurred during the filming of the movie and was apparently caused by a head-on collision. The Madras Talkies management and the horse's owner have both been charged by the Abdullapurmet police.

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The incident reportedly occurred on August 11, according to the FIR filed on August 18. The AWBI had given the filmmakers pre-shoot clearance to employ 80 horses in Ponniyin Selvan, according to the report. The AWBI is the authorised body under The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act of 1960, which permits the use of animals in films. According to reports, the horse owner permitted the film's filmmakers to keep utilising animals that were tired and dehydrated.

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Mani Ratnam is the director of the film Ponniyin Selvan. According to reports, the event occurred during a shot on private ground near a film studio in Hyderabad. Following a complaint based on incident reports from whistle-blowers, the AWBI initiated action. PETA India is also offering a reward of Rs 25,000 for a video or image of the horse's death, in the hopes that it would lead to the arrest of the culprits. The activists are urging that anybody with knowledge about this case send it to Info@petaindia.org.

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PETA India Chief Advocacy Officer Khushboo Gupta remarked, "In the age of computer-generated imagery (CGI), film companies have no excuse for forcing exhausted horses to play at war till one of them dies." "Compassionate, forward-thinking filmmakers would never dream of dragging sensitive animals to a chaotic movie set and forcing them to 'act,'" she added. "PETA India is urging on director Mani Ratnam to stop the cruelty and use contemporary and compassionate CGI and other visual-effects technologies.”

The AWBI further requested that the culprits be given "exemplary punishment" so that such crimes do not occur again.

Madras Talkies has been charged under the PCA Act, 1960, section 11 (promotes or participates in any shooting match or competition in which animals are released from captivity for the purpose of such shooting) and 429 (commits mischief by killing, poisoning, maiming, or rendering useless any elephant, camel, horse, mule, buffalo, bull, cow, or ox, whatever the value thereof, or any other animal) of the Indian Penal Code