Killing Animals Is Not Cool

Posted by suchitra Category: My Thoughts

DEAR FILMMAKER -it is illegal to kill animals for a shot in your film. Be warned

I had signed up for a script writing workshop last weekend.

It’s a script I was asked to read as part of a workshop I signed up for and do I did even though It’s a film I refused to see because of its violence, in spite of its rave reviews.

It’s the only reason I interacted with the script writer and the film maker too, where they spoke about their journey making the recently released road film.

So far so good. They –  (the director and the writer of NH-10)- sound like educated intelligent people- I mean advertising and IIM- A’s are backgrounds few can boast off. Even the cream of India’s intelligentia. Mr Writer & Mr Director ensure that their notch above the rest of Bollywood’s qualifications are noticed by all. Claps all around

Wow.  These two sacrificed successful careers to starve & realize their dream of making this movie? Commendable.  Some more claps. And they have taken time off on a Sunday to share their journey with us- much appreciated. Claps again.

2 days before this interaction with Mr Writer & Mr Director we were all given the script of of their movie to read. In that there is a scene where a lamb crosses the road & is smashed by the screeching car in which the couple ride. I didn’t think anything of this scene specifically. Even if I was to, I would assume (because I think I know) that such things are done with dummies or faked to requirement.

Someone in the audience mentions that some of the scenes on paper didn’t make it to the final cut of the movie & how come. That Mr Writer & mr Director explain is how films work- some scenes are cut out, some improvised on the spot etc & one must not get attached to the written word.

And then Mr Writer specifically mentions the scene where a lamb crosses the road and is smashed by the speeding car. That was in the script but didn’t make it in the film he says, looking suitably sycophantically at the director. Because the director – with all the largesse in his heart- saw the poor little lamb on the set on the day of the shooting and decided there’s no point killing it for a shot that may or may not make it to the final edit of the film.

Mr Director looks suitably flattered by Mr Writers praises & turns on the “See I’m such a nice guy & so didn’t kill the poor lamb” expression full throttle. Its raining smugness now & I am drowning.

Wait a minute- are you ALLOWED to kill animals for a shot in your film? Surely its totally illegal” I ask

“Of course I am allowed to kill an animal for a scene in my film if required. As long as I do it within ethical guidelines against cruelty” Mr Director dismisses and continues “ Puhlease- Dont tell me you are vegetarian”

His smirk is getting worse & I tell him that whether or not I am vegetarian is not the argument here. The argument is about the law and I will have to check what laws allows such cruelty.  They cannot possibly exist.

Mr Director says he is VERY sure that the law allows him to take an animals life if a shot requires in a film & adds “ Whats the problem. A chair is meant to be sat on right? I mean what else is a chair there for. Similarly a lamb is bred for its meat. So whether it is killed for a shooting or elsewhere what difference does it make”

I realize it’s no point arguing with this kind of demonic ignorance and thank him silently for not killing the lamb. If only every lamb was as lucky to have such a kind director that spared his life and sacrificed 3 seconds of his/ her film` Phew

My telephone calls a few seconds later to the Animal Welfare Association confirm that it is CERTAINLY NOT ALLOWED to even cause pain to an animal, let alone take its life. And if any shot in a movie requires animals to be used, a member of the animal welfare association is required to be present to ensure that guidelines of ethical treatment to animals is followed & no harm is caused to the animal physically or emotionally. And this permission must be taken before hand. This movie certainly didn’t from the looks of it

If supposedly educated intelligent film makers are themselves so ignorant & spread such wrong information on a platform where they have come to teach- I shudder to think of the state of the rest of the country.  Reel and real life feed off each other and the osmosis is deep. Our responsibility not to be taken lightly.

For if an educated supposed gentleman can think the law allows him to kill a lamb or indeed any other animal to satisfy his artistic ego for a half second shot in his film what’s to stop the illiterate ignorant man on the street to apply the same law to women or children to satisfy his raging libido?

This argument is not about meat eating Vs vegetarianism or lamb Vs beef. It’s about ignorance ethics knowledge & humaneness.

And animals cannot be killed to satisfy your ego or pleasure. Whether lamb, dog, horse or black buck. That is the law & those who don’t abide by it deserve to go to jail.

PS- I subsequently received a communication from the film maker that he was misinformed about the law and killing of animals for a shot in a film is definitely not allowed. I will ask him to pass on this information so nobody remains confused about this law anymore. I request everybody reading this to pass on the information too

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