Last week I visited my grandparents in Kerala, the only time I get to catch up with some relatively new Malayalam flicks. Being on team Lal Aetan, I had to go for Pullimurugan, one of the biggest hits of 2016 (like I said ‘relatively new’). So I readied myself to bask in the Lal Aetan swagger with loads of snacks and a whistle (it is not a Mohan Lal movie, if you don’t whistle on his entry and I don’t know how to whistle with my mouth).
Anyways, the story line is simple, Murugan (Mohan Lal) a village simpleton who hunts down tigers and baddies (or Daddy in this case) with some mind bending action moves, and traps and snares which totally debunks the laws of gravity and rendering them simply as some fiction written down by Chetan Bhagat .
Somewhere in the middle, an eerie realization dawned to me –‘does this movie glorify hunting and its pursuits.’
Yes, I agree that it is not a real tiger and it is not the first time that cinema has shown hunting and is widely incorporated in India and around the world ever since the very beginning of theatre. My point of contention is its portrayal. Ever since man has walked on this planet, to kill a wild beast (human or animal) is seen as a sign of strength, bravery , courage and basically something heroic and hunting was once, sacrosanct for Indians to attain civility as per the British. But, at the rate at which the animal kingdom is being wiped out, we can’t afford to view it in the same light. An insignificant disclaimer that no animals were harmed during the filming would no longer suffice to bring down the appeal towards hunting and poaching, created and sold by these kinds of films. If not acted upon soon, we’ll end up with extinct species and civil inhumanity.
Further, I also agree that Murugan only killed those tigers who threatened his village; nevertheless killing is not the only option (tranquilizing, transfer to other areas of the forest, etc. to name a few). As per the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, Section 9 gives a wide definition to hunting and also prohibits the same. Yes, there are exceptions, but, these exceptions are to be exercised only on last resort basis.
Perhaps, we need a stronger disclaimer similar to that against smoking and alcohol consumption, wherein the lead actors read out that hunting is an offence, killing wild animals is an offence and no actors in this film promote hunting in any form, before the screening of such movies.
As Priyanka Chopra rightly acknowledged, that in India, we love our movie stars as none other in the world and our very own Murugan giving voice to our pullis might just save at least them from us animals.
 Mohan Lal is one the BELOVED actors of MALAYALAM Cinema
 Men who disguise as tigers
 Villian’s name is Daddy Girija
 During the British Raj in India