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Captain Miller movie shooting in eco-sensitive area, controversy explained

The filming of the upcoming movie 'Captain Miller', starring Dhanush, inside the Kalakad Mundanthurai tiger reserve in Tamil Nadu

By Ground report
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Captain Miller movie shooting in eco-sensitive area, controversy explained

The filming of the upcoming movie 'Captain Miller', starring Dhanush, inside the Kalakad Mundanthurai tiger reserve in Tamil Nadu has drawn objections from environmentalists.

They claim that the activities of the film crew are causing problems for wildlife, including elephants and tigers, and damaging the forest region.

The filming of the film allegedly took place in the buffer zone of the tiger reserve, violating the rules and obstructing local residents' access to government land and the canal.

Environmentalists have raised objections to the film's shooting, claiming that the high beams and loudspeakers used during filming have been affecting wildlife, including elephants and tigers, in the reserve.

There have been allegations that the film production unit damaged the Chenkulam canal bank and filled it with dirt. The filming crew has stated that the shooting is taking place on private land and all necessary permits have been obtained, but the district administration has temporarily halted the shooting due to concerns raised by locals and environmentalists.

The people of Tenkasi filed a petition against the production unit of 'Captain Miller', accusing them of violating the rules in the buffer zone of the forest region of the Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve. They requested the district management to take appropriate measures against the production unit.

Farmers have stopped bringing their cattle into the area to graze, and residents have been denied entry to a rock they have been using to rest and take pictures.

What is Kalakad Mundanthurai tiger reserve?

Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve (KMTR) is a protected area in the southern part of the Western Ghats in Tamil Nadu. It was established as a wildlife sanctuary in 1962 and then declared a tiger reserve in 1988.

The reserve covers an area of approximately 895 square kilometres and is home to a variety of flora and fauna, including tigers, elephants, leopards, gaurs, and various species of birds and reptiles. It is an important part of the Western Ghats biodiversity hotspot, which is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve (KMTR) is important for several reasons. It is one of the most important tiger reserves in India and is home to a significant population of Bengal tigers, an endangered species. The reserve is also home to a wide variety of other wildlife, including elephants, leopards, and many species of birds.

Filming without permits

The Forest Department, responsible for overseeing the area where the film was shot, has denied giving permission for the filming. Officials from both the Forest Department and the District Forest Office confirmed that the film unit did not obtain any permission from them.

Similarly, the Public Works Department (PWD) has also not given any permission to shoot the film, and an assistant engineer warned the film unit in February against the illegal construction of a wooden bridge. and the damage to the banks of Chenkulam.

The Fire and Rescue Services department also confirmed that permission had not been given to film the film.

The only department that has claimed that a permit was not required to film is the Forest Department. However, his statement contradicts previous warnings from the assistant engineer, who warned the film unit against his activities.

Accusations of forest violations during filming

MDMK Keezhapavur union councillor Rama Udayasuriyan accused the film unit of illegally building a wooden bridge across the Chenkulam canal, damaging its banks and disturbing wildlife.

He also claimed that the team built a mega-set in the buffer zone without permission and filmed fight scenes with bomb explosions, which generated noise and light pollution.

Udayasuriyan said that he had repeatedly approached PWD and forest officials, but their requests to him were to no avail. He accused the referees of becoming a mute bystander, citing pressure from senior officials as the reason.

PWD Deputy Executive Engineer Subramania Pandian said that he had instructed the film crew to remove the wooden bridge and repair the banks of the canal, but the film crew was not following his instructions. Karuna Moorthy, Kadayam Forest Shooting Officer, said his department monitored the activities of the shooting unit.

Moorthy said the film set was about 1.5 km from the forest reserve at Mathalamparai, and since it was a temporary infrastructure, no action could be taken by the forest department.

He further said that the filming unit used dummy bullets that generated less noise and that the forest department found no reason to take action against the unit.

Director defends Captain Miller shoot

Last month, Director Arun Matheswaran denied allegations that filming for Dhanush's film Captain Miller is causing disturbance to wildlife in the Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve (KTMR) in Tamil Nadu.

Matheswaran refutes these allegations, stating that the shooting is taking place on private land and that all necessary permits have been obtained.

He claims that the district administration would not have allowed the construction of a large set in the area without proper authorization.

The director adds that filming is proceeding as planned and the production team has addressed all issues raised by local residents and environmentalists with the proper authorities.

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