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Mani Ratnam violates Kerala forest rules, shooting stopped

Kochi, Oct 11: Veteran film maker Mani Ratnam, who is shooting his latest multilingual film "Ravana" in the forests of Malayatoor near here, was asked to stop filming after he violated an agreement with the Kerala Forest Department, an official said.

The forest is a two-hour drive from Kochi and is a prime spot for eco-tourism.

Krishnadev Prasad Sahu of the Malayatoor Forest Division said that the director was asked to stop shooting Friday evening because it was found that he had constructed temporary huts in prohibited areas in the forest.

"We had given him sanction to shoot for 20 days in a two month period and yesterday (Friday) it was the fifth day. Our Principal Chief Conservator of Forest TM Manoharan was present at the area of the shooting and he found out that there was a violation by the film crew and hence, he immediately ordered the shooting to be stopped," Sahu said.

"As per the rules, they are not supposed to erect any structures in such areas but it was found out that they had constructed three huts. They explained that it was done to keep their equipment if it rains. Since the agreement was violated, the permission granted was cancelled," Sahu added.

The film stars Abhisek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai and they were supposed to arrive next week.

"Now that this violation has happened, it is very unlikely that sanction would be given again," Sahu said.

According to Sahu, Mani Ratnam was not present when the forest officials arrived because he had completed the shooting for the day.