I didn’t know that a picture I had shot randomly while roaming around in a Coorg forest would help the Save The Tiger campaign to such an extent,” beams actor Neil Nitin Mukesh who clicked a tiger while shooting for 7 Khoon Maaf at the Nagarhole Tiger Reserve and donated it for an auction conducted by NDTV for the campaign. The photograph fetched R 1.5 lakh.
“When I heard that a national news channel and Amit uncle (Amitabh Bachchan) and several top actors and celebrities were supporting the campaign to save our national animal, I immediately sent the photograph because I really wanted to do my bit for this campaign which was being discussed nationally. But I didn’t expect the photo to get such a cool response.”
The actor received several phone calls and emails for the photo that was much talked about at the auction, conducted late last year. “I feel blessed that I could do something constructive. It’s unimaginable what can happen to nature’s cycle if these big cats vanish. They’re such scary but beautiful creatures. I was afraid to go close to the tiger I shot,” he recalls. “I went near it very quietly, shot a few pictures, and ran out of the forest area. I think that’s the fun of shooting wild animals.
The adrenaline rush is unmatched.” The actor shot for Vishal Bhardwaj’s 7 Khoon Maaf with Priyanka Chopra last year in Coorg for over a month, where he was completely disconnected from the rest of the world because of unavailable Internet and mobile network. “I never
forget to carry my camera wherever I go. When I was at Coorg for nearly a month, I stepped out every day after pack up and clicked loads of pictures. I particularly enjoy nature and wildlife photography. And Coorg is one of the most scenic places in the country if one really wants to practice photography,” says Neil.
Late playback singer Mukesh’s grandson, who’s currently filming Players with Abhishek Bachchan and Sonam Kapoor, says that he could play a photographer in Aa Dekhein Zara convincingly because he’s an avid photographer in real life.
“It’s difficult to pretend that you’re a musician or a photographer when you’re not,” says Neil. “Thanks to this hobby, I have some of the most beautiful pictures of animals and nature in my collection. Maybe, some day when I have the time, I will exhibit them.”