Mumbai's 'Dhannos' get a champion in Hema Malini!


Mumbai, Aug 5 (IANS) Over three decades after her role of 'Basanti', the horse-carriage driver with her mare 'Dhanno' in the iconic film "Sholay", actress Hema Malini has sought a ban on horse carts in this city, saying the horses that pull these carts lead a miserable life.

The Bollywood actress has written to city municipal commissioner Jairaj Phatak seeking a ban on the horse-carts that ply on the city's roads.

Writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Hema Malini said in her letter: "In 'Sholay', I had a terrific co-star named Dhanno. Luckily, this affable character will never know the misery that her cousins, who are forced to pull joy-carts, endure."

She said that "her heart breaks" whenever she sees the condition of the horses who are forced to give joyrides on beaches, parks and certain other areas of the city.

"Their legs ache, they yearn for better nourishment, their throats are parched and the sun beats down on their backs," said the actress.

Joining the campaign is actor John Abraham, who recently wrote to the Mumbai collector seeking a ban on horse-carts on city roads.

"He was told that the issue falls under the purview of the traffic department, so he approached them. They, in turn, said the matter concerns the Mumbai collector. In this blame-game, the horses continue to suffer," said PETA spokesman Sachin Bangera.

An investigation by PETA revealed that the horses are fed unwholesome food and polluted water.

"Stables are often damp, filthy, infested with insects and rodents, many horses are forced to work long hours in the blazing sun without any relief," Bangera said.

There are about a couple of hundred horses which are allowed to ply on certain Mumbai roads, beaches, parks and other areas, mainly for the benefit of tourists and children.