Stories of Tigers: An Audience Engagement Initiative in India

Image credit: The Times of India

Wildlife documentaries featuring tigers are gaining more attention from conservationists, photographers, and filmmakers alike. Thanks to the efforts of filmmakers and photographers like Subbiah Nallamuthu, Uday Sinh Wala, and Kalyan Varma, iconic tigers such as Machli from Ranthambore, the Telia sisters from Tadoba and the Big Male from the Sundarbans have become popular names. Not only do these films have conservation value, they are also gaining popularity with social media and advances in camera technology.

Uday Sinh Wala is the founder and CEO of Mindseye Entertainment Pvt. Ltd., which produced the award-winning film ‘Tigress Blood’. He notes that interest in wildlife has been growing, but cautions that people should develop a commitment towards taking up wildlife filmmaking as a career. National Award winning filmmaker Nallamuthu shares the same sentiment, saying that it is difficult to make a living off of wildlife filmmaking due to the costs associated with such projects and the lack of government and corporate funding.

Kalyan Varma, a wildlife film-maker, photographer, and conservationist, also points to the fact that many people who have been pursing wildlife and nature photography have done so for the likes on social media and not for the conservation value. The trio of filmmakers also explain the challenge of getting an interesting story for international channels, and the cooperation needed from the government for giving out permits to shoot.

While Wildlife film-making has become an emerging sector and exciting for filmmakers, the challenge remains for young filmmakers in affording the costs associated with such projects. Moreover, platforms for such films have grown over the years with OTT providers, leading to an increased demand for such documentaries.

However, whether it is to spread the word of conservation among audiences or to give viewers a peek of the wild, wildlife filmmaking remains a rewarding, though challenging field of work. Both Nallamuthu and Varma suggest people get their start in the home, learn the basics, and eventually take on wildlife filmmaking as a serious, long-term pursuit.