Story of India’s ‘crying elephant’ Raju to be made into a film

Published: September 3, 2014
elephant who cried after rescue

Indian elephant Raju who was rescued after 50 years of working in chains. Wildlife SOS India photo

VANCOUVER DESI

The heartbreaking story of India’s crying elephant Raju – who was recently rescued from nearly 50 years of being chained and abused – will be made into a feature film.

According to Deadline.com, a U.S.-based producer, Larry Brezner, has acquired the rights to Raju’s story, alongside father-son production team Vijay and Prakash Amritraj.

The movie will revolve around the heroes of Wildlife SOS – the agency that rescued Raju – Kartrick Satyanarayan and Nikki Sharp, Deadline.com reported.

According to Sharp – who confirmed the upcoming movie on Raju’s rescue – the agency’s rescue plans were one year in the making and finally carried out in July with the help of Uttar Pradesh forest officials.

“It was not an easy rescue, there was definitely a lot of resistance,” Sharp told Vancouver Desi from Salt Lake City.

Although Raju’s owner, known as ‘Mr. Shahid’ – who used the animal for heavy labour as a begging elephant, keeping him shackled 24/7 – wasn’t informed of the upcoming rescue, he still managed to assemble a mob to fight off the authorities, resulting in a “stand-off” for nearly 10 hours.

“They just got a mob to surround Raju they tied him up in more chains, got him really agitated and made it impossible for us to get close to him,” said Sharp.

When they finally calmed him and safely moved him to a conservation centre in India, the daring rescue made international headlines, especially since Raju is said to have shed “tears of joy” as he was removed from the abusive environment.

“When we rescued Raju he was just near death,” said Sharp. “He was skeletal, he was emaciated, he was dehydrated, he had hundreds of wounds throughout his body.”

In just six weeks since his rescue, he’s gained 200 pounds while recovering at his new home  – but his story is far from over.

As the film rights to Raju’s story were announced Tuesday, the elephant’s previous owner also filed court papers in an attempt to get the animal back.

According to Sharp, the case is expected to go before an Indian court Sept. 11, so Wildlife SOS, along with some help from a Vancouver-based PR firm, is trying to gain 100,000 signatures on a petition in support of Raju’s freedom.

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Raju is pictured here shackled and emaciated before his rescue. Submitted photo.


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