We want people to take pride in Karnataka’s wildlife, says Wild Karnataka maker

We understand animal behaviour and we keep a safe distance from all animals. Once we had that list, we started shooting. For example, we know that elephants congregate during summer, or in the monsoons, you can find frogs. Animals otherwise don’t behave properly. Once they understand it and take pride in it, we can discuss more serious issues. Each one was a unique and different experience. We made a list of things that we could potentially film. We also had a large team of researchers working with the forest departments and frontline staff. There are also some unseen animals in it. Right now the bigger issue is that people don’t even know that Karnataka has so much wildlife. We wanted it to be watched by every single person, including those who don’t watch wildlife. Second, it is not safe, and third, you won’t get their proper behaviour. We have also finished the Kannada version, which we will be screening at schools all over. It is good. It must require a lot of patience. Kalyan and me have worked for international companies for a long time. We eventually had 60 terabytes of data. We faced quite a challenge in terms of technology and scale, even viewing back the footage. We have filmed in pretty much all the national parks of Karnataka. I think it was a combined approach. At other times, we would wait in the jeep for the action to happen. Because it is also educative. Did you come face to face with an animal during the filming of this movie? Even before they understand what it is, we thought for us to preach about it would be a little premature. Wild Karnataka enjoys the distinction of being the first Indian wildlife film to have a commercial launch in cinemas. Have you just documented the species in forests of Karnataka or you have made a movie, which has a story to tell and captures emotions and leads to some kind of conclusion? Did you also follow the same method? So it is not confined to the journey and struggles of one particular animal? For example, Draco, it is like a flying lizard. Sometimes, we would put hidden cameras and leave the area. But, we wanted families and kids to go and watch it. These big animals are in the movie for sure. Sometimes, we would trek into the woods and wait. No, we have about 20 different sequences of different animals. Our objective is to maximize the reach. And also each sequence needed a different kind of equipment. We are all trained naturalists. The only big issue we had was leeches and ticks. One, it is an invasion into their lives. One, the data is quite heavy. Wildlife photographers Amoghavarsha and Kalyan Varma led a team of 24 filmmakers to document the rich wildlife of Karnataka for four years. I mean, what is the point of preaching to the choir? We knew what were the things we could film. Written by Manoj Kumar R
| Bengaluru |

Updated: January 14, 2020 9:14:19 pm

Wild Karnataka will hit screens on January 17. What motivated you to release it in cinemas as opposed to OTT platforms? You shot the documentary for four years. Four years is a long time. Usually, wildlife filmmakers follow certain animals for several years, find a story thread and weave it into a documentary movie. Is there any specific story we will get to see in Wild Karnataka? That process was a huge task. You must have had tons of footage. I think OTT is watched by a certain kind of audience. We also have sequences around tigers, leopards and elephants. We used to stay at jungle lodges and sometimes, you don’t get such facilities. The film is narrated by renowned conservationist Sir David Attenborough, and Grammy-winning Ricky Kej has scored the background score. Were you not tempted to talk about man-animal conflict in your movie? The footage was of such high-definition that it wouldn’t even playback on our computers. And of course, when you are on the field, unexpected things happen. Given the technology and in-house talent at our disposal, we thought why can’t we make a movie in our backyard. We did something similar. First, we wanted to show people what is the wealth of the state. Actually, no. We knew what were the things that would happen in Karnataka because it is our home. There is a sequence where river otters chase a tiger out of water. For all the latest Entertainment News, download Indian Express App
© IE Online Media Services Pvt Ltd Excerpts from a conversation with Amoghavarsha:
What was the purpose and intent behind putting together this project? We want every person in India to be able to watch it. We spoke to the Karnataka forest department and they were very supportive of the whole thing. And you will see hundreds of species. We made sure that we were informed about all the things that were happening in the forests and we would react to it. Technology was changing, footage was gathering and sequences had to be cut. People who already know it will enjoy it. And we always wanted to talk about our state and tell a story about our backyard, Karnataka. How did you compress it into a 52-minute movie? The result is Wild Karnataka, a 52-minute documentary, that flaunts the natural wealth of Karnataka. We faced different kinds of challenges
Can you explain to us the painstaking work of following animals in jungles for years? Quite a few. But, also slightly different. For example, a story of leopard leads to another one. If you see movies like Our Planet or Planet Earth, there are multiple short stories which are all connected. Yes. And of course, it takes a lot of patience.