When Mitul starts talking about his experiences at the Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya, he can’t help but reveal his newfound knowledge about the bog cats. Having visited the famous reserve along with his family recently, the city-based photographer has put up a display of the pictures clicked of the animals from close quarters.
“For three days, I travelled to the reserve in a well-equipped jeep. To be able to click the animals from as close a distance as possible, I even tipped our drive 100$,” smiles Mitul, director of Dikshant International School, Zirakpur. Talking more about his experiences in the midst of the animal kingdom, Mitul adds, “Since I had got a chance to observe the lions closely, I learnt much about them. Opposed to as is commonly believed, lions are not lazy. They have a defined role to play in the pride of lions. In fact, while the lioness hunts for prey, the lion protects the kingdom and terrorise other animals such as buffaloes, hyenas and giraffes. They even strategise before dispersing to kill the prey.”
Mitul has artfully captured the hunting task of the animals on his Canon 5D camera. “Every animal had a story to tell. So, every click is not just a picture, it has a story behind it,” he smiles.
Also present at the inauguration of Mitul’s exhibition was journalist and art critic Nirupama Dutt, who said the animal kingdom always manages to attract the lens. “I especially loved the photograph of the two cheetah brothers looking at each other,” she commented.
Apart from the animals, Mitul also got a chance to understand the native Masai Mara community better. “It is a fearless community, which lives with lions like lions. They believe all cattle in this world are their property and are experts in killing them. In fact, they would earlier kill lions to prove their strength and then get married to the woman they want. However, now that there are restrictions on the lions’ killing, they have stopped,” says Mitul, adding that the community’s staple diet is cow milk with blood drawn from the veins.
The photographs called for a lot of patience and passion, pointed out Mitul, especially when he was surrounded by the big cats.
The exhibition is on at Punjab Kala Bhawan, Sector 16, Chandigarh, till July 25.