www.godsinshackles.com screened at the National Film Theatre 303 Baudhaloka Mawatha at 6pm on 1st December 2016
This is a 92 minute English language documentary film that explores the use of Asian elephants in India’s cultural festivals and temples. It was nominated at the United Nations & Jacksonhole Film Festival in New York 03rd March, and has won six international film festival awards.
The emotional story unfolds against a stunning backdrop in Kerala, Karnataka and Kolhapur, Maharashtra, India. To amplify the beat of this film, approximately 200 hours of powerful footage was gathered. Gods in Shackles is a story that has never been told before, it’s an epic film, visually stunning, entertaining, edgy, and fast-paced, magnified by cultural and classical musical score, featuring leading edge motion graphics and animation.
It follows the lives of four celebrity elephants for a year - three male festival elephants, and the only female temple elephant named “Lakshmi”, featured in this film. A fifth male elephant named “Sundar” who made international headlines has also been featured. Sundar gives hope to thousands of temple elephants across Asia. His story is shown here, from capture to his release into a wildlife sanctuary – the Bannerghatta Biological Park in Karnataka, India.(extract from preamble)
I do not need to add any more to the above, except to say it is a must view film for all, especially Elephant owners including Temple Priests who have and aspire to have elephants for perehara. The importance attached here is the true nature of an elephant, understanding it, doing what is humanly possible to give the elephant the best deal possible, now that it has been removed from the wild, and some having been bred in captivity. Never to remove any from the wild!
The whole concept of Pinnawela will take on a new meaning, where a larger land area, replicating natural forests and the ability to roam around unfettered MUST result, if we are ever to declare that we treat our captive elephants humanely. I must confess, the care of both elephants in captivity and the wild took on a new meaning having watched this film, realizing how sensitive elephants are, both psychologically, and physically, being able to recognize small changes even in temperature to say nothing of being able to feel the human touch however lightly one touches, so any piercing would cause enormous pain to the elephant who should only be coaxed by words and gentle nudging, not tied in chains or using sharp ended instruments meant to cause hurt.
I am so glad I saw this movie and would recommend that everyone in Sri Lanka watch it to know the distress this causes elephants on parade wherever they may happen to be, however we misinterpret it to mean they are actually enjoying it!
The most I can say is as an obligation to its owner, they are merely carrying out a DUTY out of necessity and not out of choice.
There is a further public screening at the same venue on 8th December @ 5.30pm and I highly recommend it to anyone remotely concerned about how we really should understand our gracious neighbors, that make our nation actually so graceful and grand so we can live side by side in harmony and NOT acrimony!