India News

Horse Dies on ‘Ponniyin Selvan’ Sets; Animal Welfare Board Seeks Probe Based on PETA Complaint against Mani Ratnam’s Madras Talkies

A complaint was filed against Mani Ratnam’s production company Madras Talkies by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) following reports of the death of a horse on the sets of Ponniyin Selvan, the filmmaker’s upcoming historical film. Based on this complaint, the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) has called for an inquiry into the horse’s death, PETA said in a statement on Friday.


PETA India said it had filed the complaint based on a whistleblower report that a horse had died on the Ponniyin Selvan sets after being involved in a “head-on collision” while shooting.

According to a PTI report in Hindustan Times, the complaint was registered by a PETA India volunteer on August 18. It stated that a horse had died on the private land near a film studio, where the shooting of Ponniyin Selvan was taking place on August 11.

Based on this complaint, an FIR was registered against Madras Talkies and the owner of the horse under Section 11 of the PCA Act, 1960, and Section 429 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 at the Abdullapurmet police station in Telangana.

An official attached to Abdullapurmet police station told PTI that a veterinarian has conducted a post-mortem examination of the horse and a report is still awaited.

Following PETA’s complaint, AWBI has ordered the district collector of Hyderabad and the Telangana State Animal Welfare Board to conduct an inquiry into the horse’s death. According to PETA, the horse’s owner had reportedly allowed the makers of the film to keep using the animal while it was tired and dehydrated.


In its statement, PETA India also urged entertainment and marketing industries to make use of “computer-generated imagery, visual effects, and animatronics instead of forcing live animals to perform.” The organisation also announced a ransom of Rs 25,000 to anyone who can provide a video or photograph of the incident on the Ponniyin Selvan sets.

Ponniyin Selvan is being jointly produced by Mani Ratnam’s Madras Talkies and Lyca Productions. The film has music by Ratnam’s regular composer AR Rahman and features a large star cast. It is based on the historical Tamil novel, Ponniyin Selvan, written by Kalki (pen name of the Tamil writer, Ramaswamy Krishnamurthy). The five-volume novel tells the fictional story of the early days of Arulmozhivarman, who later went on to become the Chola emperor Rajaraja Chola I.