Feathers flapped and beaks pecked. With cocks crowing at each other and men standing still, the scene reminds one of the national-award winning Tamil flick ‘Aadukalam'. The arena was set here on Saturday for the conduct of one of the age-old traditional sports in the state - cockfight.

The game, befitting its silver-screen equivalent, was inaugurated by Vetrimaran, director of the film.

The sport, where two roosters were made to fight, was organised following an order from the Madurai Bench of the High Court giving permission to conduct the game with certain conditions.

The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court gave the order on the petition filed by Jehangir, seeking permission to conduct the sport on the grounds of it being a traditional sport.

Accordingly, cocks that were made to fight in the game did not have knives tied to their heels. It was a naked heel sport by which birds were not hurt.

Amongst lusty cheers from the nail-biting audience, the birds locked heads.

The roosters were made to fight and their strength judged based on their ability to withstand after an hour. Enthusiasts from Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Puducherry and Tamil Nadu brought birds to the fight.

The participants are specially-bred birds conditioned to maintain stamina. Police bandobust was arranged and care was taken that the birds were not drugged and injured.

The game will be held on Sunday too.

According to Tamil scholars, the sport is 2,000 years old and has a mention in sangam literature. Manu Needhi Sastiram and Kattu Seval Sastiram speak about the sport.