When John Abraham played a wildlife photographer researching tigers in Kaal
, he didn’t know that a few years later, he’d become an activist for the national animal. The actor has joined hands with veteran wildlife filmmaker and conservationalist, Mike Pandey, to make Return Of The Tiger
, a docudrama.
It started after the two bagged the Eco-Warriors Award last year, for giving a home to 30 elephants that were being smuggled for trade. “John asked me what I was working on next and I told him it was a docu-drama on tigers. I recalled reading about his love for the animal and wondered if he’d want to be a part of the project. He readily agreed,” recalls Pandey.
Abraham, who’s going to be the narrator and presenter, apart from a co-producer, would want to be more than just the face for this campaign. “It’s time we took a stand to protect our wildlife. If you view the glass as half-full rather than half-empty, we won’t be able to see a tiger in another five years,” he reasons.
The docu-drama will be shot over a period of about two years with Pandey tracking a tigress and her two cubs from infancy till they become independent. The film will not talk about tigers alone, but the ecological balance that’s in danger too. “Very few people know that the water we drink comes from the jungles. If there was no wildlife, the whole eco-system would collapse. We want to sensitise people about our forests as well,” says Pandey.
Abraham says their docu-drama is in sync with the Aircel campaign. Will he try to rope in India’s cricket captain, Mahindra Singh Dhoni too, given that they are buddies? “If the need arises, I’ll ask him. He’s a conscientious guy and I’m sure he will stand up for a cause like this,” says the actor. Pandey adds that they have tied up with Aircel to take the message forward. “It’s tragic that the number of tigers in the country is going down. We must act before it’s too late,” he asserts.
Sharing Pandey’s viewpoint, that a collaborative effort has to be made by everyone, Abraham concludes, “We have good forest laws, but it’s equally important to implement them. Conservation can’t work in isolation.”