It is not my contention that these animals were not treated badly. May be they were, may be they weren’t. I do not know. But has Maneka Gandhi noticed how the film industry functions in general? Or the way junior artists and stuntmen are treated in the Indian film industry? Forget junior artists even someone like Amitabh Bachchan shot two years for Kaun Banega Crorepati “with some of my most medically complicated shortcomings”. He shot for Sharaabi with his hand in the pocket because in an earlier accident a bomb went off and turned his hand into a “meatball”. Such is the nature of a shoot and the film industry. It just doesn’t matter who/what you are or how you are feeling that particular day – the work just needs to get done. And if in the process actors get inconvenienced, tough luck. Now is Ms. Maneka Gandhi going to object to all these too? I think not.
This does not mean that I believe that animals should not be treated kindly. Of course they should be. I have seen documentaries where elephants were trapped, stunned with electric rods and the flesh on the foot sawed – yes sawed, to prevent them from attempting any escape. It was a heart rending sight. Such incidents and the rampant poaching that takes place in India show that a vigilant SPCA is absolutely necessary.
But, and here is a big but, there is something like going overboard. And the problem with doing that is the legitimate concerns espoused later get laughed at. Objecting to animals being used in film shooting is to my mind ridiculous.
In my humble opinion it is better to let these minor misdemeanours be and go after the big ones. Why is it that Maneka Gandh does not create a huge ruckus about the rampant poaching of the big cats? The proliferating trade in animal parts and skin? These are issues that need to be dealt with and not cosmetic ones such as supplying “supporting artists” to the film industry.
Incidentally was she not a Central minister not too long ago? What did she do about these issues at that time? It is probably time for her to go after these real issues and stop sensationalising an obviously serious problem.