The regional censor board in Chennai has refused to give a censor certificate to Shankar produced Imsai Arasan 23 am Pulikesi directed by debutant Simbudevan. The reason- It’s hero Vadivelu rides a horse!
As per the current diktat of Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), it introduced an act in 2001 which prohibits the use of certain animals and birds in films. To use these animals like the horse in Imsai Arasan 23 am Pulikesi used by Vadivelu in war scenes, Simbudevan and Shankar should have taken the prior approval of AWBI and shot the sense with a veterinary doctor on the sets to oversee that the animal was not ill-treated!
But since Shankar and Simbudevan did not even know of such rules, they had shot the scenes without getting the approval. Now the censor board is plainly refusing to give certificate without an NOC (No-Objection Certificate) from AWBI.
Remember that early this year, Aamir Khan faced similar problems with Rang De Basanti as there is a scene when he rides a horse. Later director Rakesh Mehra had to edit the 25 seconds scene from the film before its release. But in the case of Imsai Arasan 23 am Pulikesi , the makers cannot edit the war scenes which are crucial to the story.
With the producer and director not aware of this act- who is to be blamed? When Shankar approached AWBI they soft-peddled the issue and was not willing to give an NOC. So Shankar had no other option but to approach the court. The court issued an order on May 18 asking AWBI to issue an NOC, but they have kicked the issue back to the censors saying that they can do so at their own discretion.
But the censor board who is having a running battle with AWBI over many such issues refused to budge. They are saying let AWBI first issue an NOC to Imsai Arasan 23 am Pulikesi as per court order and they will abide by it. Behind the scene, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests has written to AWBI asking it to explain who gave it the authority to decide on the use of animals in films.
Meanwhile a horse has crippled the release of Imsai Arasan 23 am Pulikesi which was scheduled on May 19 and has now been postponed indefinitely until they get a censor certificate.