Forest department may object if Sholay 3D project affects wildlife

Ramadevara Betta an area surrounding it is a protected area as it is a vulture sanctuary

Forest department may object if Sholay 3D project affects wildlife

The proposed move on a 3D virtual reality village project to recreate the magic of iconic Bollywood film 'Sholay" in the rocky terrain of Ramanagaram, 50 km here, may face objection from the forest department if it affects wildlife conservation, a senior official said. A Rs 7.5 crore proposal is on the anvil to establish Sholay-the-3D Virtual Reality Village for movie lovers on a locale at Ramadevara Betta, that was popularly known as Ramgad as a shot in the film.

Ramadevara Betta an area surrounding it is a protected area as it is a vulture sanctuary.

"Nothing has come to me yet. We don't know where exactly and what exactly they are planning to do. Our DFO (Divisional Forest Officer) will update us on getting to know about any such project. After that, we will take a call," Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) K S Sugara told PTI. "If there is anything that is not in the interest of wildlife conservation or vulture sanctuary, we will object", he said.

The Ramanagaram district administration has submitted the plan to the state government to either implement it as a public-private venture or as a state project. The District administration officials have said the project, however, will not be established in the vulture reserve area, but outside it.

The virtual village will bring alive the trailblazing characters, 42 years after they were immortalised in the film, through three-dimensional (3D) printing and Virtual Reality (VR) technology.

Ramanagaram, located about 50 km south-west of Bengaluru, is a paradise for trekking, rock climbing and photo shooting.

Seven hills are located within a 10 km radius of Ramanagaram, including Ramadevar betta, where Gabbar Singh, played by the late Amjad Khan in the antagonist role in the 1975 film, was picturised.

Gabbar Singh's dacoit role gave Khan cult status, along with the memorable role of his henchmen Samba and Kaalia. Karnataka Tourism Minister Priyank Kharge has told PTI that the state government has to evaluate the entire proposal. He has also said Sholay locales have the potential to attract visitors heading towards Mysuru and is also the first exit point for IT people living in Bengaluru. But, the minister made it clear that some locales that fall into the vulture reserve zone like Gabbar's hideout, Thakur (Sanjeev Kumar)'s haveli and the rocky terrain where Basanti (Hema Malini) dances, among others, will have to be recreated outside the prohibited area if the project is implemented.