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Patience is key to wildlife filmmaking, says Rajesh Bedi

Bedi, who was the first Asian to receive the prestigious ‘Wildlife Photographer of the Year’ in 1986 is known for his iconic wildlife films and his photo series on elephants. During the inauguration, a promo of his current film on snow leopards was displayed, which was followed by his stills of elephants titled – Tuskar trails. 

pune Updated: Aug 05, 2018 16:26 IST
Ashish Phadnis
Ashish Phadnis
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,patience,filmmaking
Rajesh Bedi (left), wildlife film-maker, and Saurabh Rao, PMC chief, at the inauguration of the wildlife film festival.(Ravindra Joshi/HT PHOTO)

One of the major differences between regular movies and wildlife films is that you cannot make the animals act according to your script and camera, said Rajesh Bedi, a pioneer of Indian wildlife filmmaking.

After inaugurating the first-ever wildlife film festival at Fergusson College on Saturday, Bedi said, “It takes tremendous patience as filmmakers have to wait for several days, weeks or even months together for the perfect shot.” The week-long film festival was organised by city-based Nature Walk Charitable Trust, Add Venture Foundation and Fergusson College.

Bedi, who was the first Asian to receive the prestigious ‘Wildlife Photographer of the Year’ in 1986 is known for his iconic wildlife films and his photo series on elephants. During the inauguration, a promo of his current film on snow leopards was displayed, which was followed by his stills of elephants titled – Tuskar trails.

Talking about the wildlife films, he said, “Behind every wildlife film there is an endless process of hard work, dedication and passion, along with a constant struggle with terrain, adverse weather and finance. During our film on snow leopards, we were working at a high altitude with -29 degrees temperature. We needed to take extra care of our equipments and get the best shot possible.”

Narrating an incident from the shoot of the film, Bedi said that he once stood motionless on a barren slope for several hours in hiding to get the shot of a leopard feeding on a yak kill.

“Animals are smarter than us and they hear the faintest noise. So I was not able to move a muscle as I knew that the animal was nearby. However, after several hours, my patience paid off and I got the rare shot,” he said.The film will release in October this year.

Bedi also shared his views on the increasing number of human-elephant conflict in southern states and in West Bengal.“It is very contradictory that we Indians worship these animals as God and then kill them if they try to trespass our land. Shortage of food and water forces these animals to move from one locality to another. While crossing human settlements, roads or rail tracks, they get killed. Several of the highways and rail tracks pass through protected forests and ultimately become responsible for their death,” he said.

“I was quite disturbed when I saw a mob of 500 villagers surrounding elephants with fire, bombs and firecrackers. If you do not want them in your area, at least give them the space to go back. It was very painful to see these kind-hearted animals getting killed by high voltage wires,” added Bedi.

Today’s screening

Venue: Amphitheatre, Fergusson College

Timing: 5 pm to 7 pm

Desert of the Skies: A unique film by Bedi Brothers, on harsh lives of nomads and rare wild animals, like Tibetan Black Necked Cranes, Ladhakhi wild dogs and wolves.

Project Tiger: Ensuring Survival – A film by Bedi Brothers on the project tiger mission launched in 1973.

Timing: 7 pm to 8:30 pm

Interaction with Rajesh Gopal, secretary general, Global Tiger Forum

First Published: Aug 05, 2018 16:25 IST