Wildlife films not for money: Bedi
Recently honoured with Prithvi Ratna award, wildlife filmmaker Naresh Bedi talks to Sudeshna B Baruah.india Updated: Aug 01, 2007 18:22 IST
Filmmaker Naresh Bedi was recently conferred the Prithvi Ratna (Jewel of the Earth) Award, instituted by the Centre for Media Studies and United Nations Environment Programme, at the recently held Vatavaran Film Festival 2005, for his extraordinary contribution to filmmaking on India’s wildlife and natural history. He is also the first Asian to have won the ‘Panda’ or the ‘Green Oscar’ as Best Wildlife Cameraman at the world’s most coveted Wildlife and Television Festival, Wildscreen 1984. Today Naresh Bedi is an established name among the wild life film makers across the globe.
Meet the king of the jungle in conversation with Sudeshna B Baruah...
the coverage that wild life gets across different TV channels is minimal, one per cent only. Even the most accessible national channel, Doordarshan, has a tendency of dragging its feet on broadcasting these films..."
What ignited your interest in wildlife filmmaking?
My father, Dr Ramesh Bedi, had a great role to play in igniting interest in wild life. A doctor by profession, he was a keen observer of wild life too. During my stay at Hardwar, as a child, our family often used to go on picnics. And my father would carry me and my brother Rajesh on his shoulders to make us see wild elephants. My tryst with the wild life thus began at the age of around 6-7. Besides, the sylvan surroundings in which our house was located made it a favourite haunt for many animals. So it was not an unusual sight to take a glimpse of elephants in our backyard itself. All these things, triggered in me the inquisitiveness to explore the world of wild animals.
How important are these films in raising awareness about wild life issues? Do you think enough is done to take them to the masses?
Yes, they can go a long way in raising consciousness about wild life issues. But they have to find a platform. The onus of taking them to the masses does not lie on the filmmaker alone. Media, indeed, has a major role to play in this regard. And the coverage that wild life gets across different TV channels is minimal, one per cent only. Even the most accessible national channel, Doordarshan, has a tendency of dragging its feet on broadcasting these films, despite the availability of videos. Given that these films do not have a great lucrative value, even distributors do not show much interest in them. Somebody has to take up the cudgel in making them accessible to the masses.
The involvement of my sons in the wild life ventures have really been of great help. It is their effort to have brought out CD’s and VCD’s. Bedi films have distributed them in many schools in interior Kolkata. We would expedite such moves to make them accessible among different sections of the society.
How do you see the Indian market for wild life films vis-a-vis the western market?
The western market is huge for wild life documentaries films. They even have TV channels dedicated to animals. But India is yet to grow in terms of such films. I would say the market is zero in India.