Filmmaker captures tiger relocation on camera
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
New Delhi (IANS): This sprightly cameraman with a salt-and-pepper beard tracks tigers relocated from the Ranthambore National Park to Sariska with his high definition digital camera for 15 days a month. And intends to do so for a year till he has captured in his lens their struggle to survive in a new environment.
Meet S. Nallamuthu, a veteran Delhi-based independent filmmaker, who is shooting the country's first documentary on the translocation of tigers from Ranthambore to the Sariska tiger reserve in Rajasthan to replenish the latter's big cat population, which had gone down to zero.
"The hour-long movie on the tigers will be telecast next year. I want to capture their struggle for existence in a new land and how they capture territory from the resident population of leopards in the Sariska park. For the last four years, not a single tiger has been sighted in Sariska, which was once a busy home for the big cats. The translocation is a unique project," Nallamuthu told IANS.
The Indian government decided to relocate tigers from Ranthambore to Sariska in 2008 after the reserve lost all its 15 tigers to poaching.
Three big cats - a male and two females - were airlifted to Sariska in a unique move in July 2008. The Wildlife Institute of India has recommended that five tigers be introduced in Sariska by the end of 2009 to breed and restore the population.
"I am making the docu-drama for a Mumbai-based company, which will telecast it on National Geographic channel. It is a very different movie - not the usual narrative drama... More behavioural in nature," Nallamuthu said.
A freelance cinematographer since 1987, Nallamuthu, who is in his late 40s, graduated from the Film and Television Institute of India in 1986 and worked as a cinematographer for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the government's Film Division among others.
He has several firsts to his credit. "I have worked on the country's first series on environment, Living on the Edge, The Great Escape, Off The Beaten Track, and the country's premier automobile show Wheels," he said.
But the cinematographer is best known for his wildlife, environment and travel documentaries.
Nallamuthu's films have been shown on BBC World, Channel 4, Discovery International, Star World, CNN, Star Plus, Doordarshan, NDR Germany and Fox Channel.