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UPDATE - Raju is free - An Indian court has declared Raju free forever.
Read more: http://ottersandsciencenews.blogspot.ca/2014/09/raju-elephant-who-cried-story-of-raju.html
Former tennis star Vijay Amritraj and Hollywood producer Larry Brezner team up to make film about the elephant freed from chains after 50 years of abuse.
The story of Raju, the elephant who cried, is heading for the big screen after a production team led by the Indian actor and former tennis player Vijay Amritraj secured the screen rights to his story.
When Raju was rescued, he had sores all over his hide and was close to starvation. He was in almost constant pain after chains and spikes wrapped around his legs left him with chronic wounds and arthritis.
The elephant is now living in a sanctuary with other rescued animals, where he is free of duties and gets to bathe in a soothing pool every day.
However, news of the film comes as Raju's former owner is due in court on 4 September as part of a legal effort to win the elephant back. The man, reported to be a drug addict who used the elephant to beg, has not yet been prosecuted for his treatment of the elephant, though Indian authorities are reportedly considering charges.
The film will focus on members of the Wildlife SOS Conservation and Care Center in India, who rescued Raju in a thrilling middle-of-the-night operation in July, reports Deadline. The elephant, who had been kept in chains and abused for more than 50 years by more than 30 owners, made headlines around the world after photographs and videos of the animal apparently weeping with joy during his rescue went viral.
"Fearing the elephant was going to die, the rescue happened on Independence Day on 4 July," said Larry Brezner, a Hollywood producer who is teaming with Amritraj and his son Prakash to oversee Raju's story. "Through the strategic planning of the Wildlife SOS in the US and the Indian Wildlife SOS it was decided, due to his failing health, this mission had to take place immediately to save his life."
The key characters in the film are expected to be based on Kartick Satyanarayan, head of the SOS Center in India, and Nikki Sharp, head of the Wildlife SOS Foundation, who were instrumental in the rescue – which was carried out with the help of police after the organisation won a court order from the Uttar Pradesh forestry commission.
Raju's story, which is being pitched as a big-screen successor to animal-themed weepies such as Born Free, War Horse and Free Willy, remains in the early stages of development. It does not yet have a director and there are no details of cast or crew. The involvement of Brezner, a producer on the forthcoming sequel to hit Hollywood comedy Ride Along, hints at an English-language take, or at least a film pitched at western audiences.
Source - http://www.theguardian.com/film/2014/sep/03/raju-the-elephant-who-cried-film
Photo - press people, The Guardian
More pictures of Raju - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/03/rajua-crying-elephant-chains_n_5758396.html
Previous reports on this blog on Raju, his liberation, and his new life with elephant friends at the sanctuary: