A team of 20 filmmakers worked in tandem with forest officials travelling and filming through swathes of forest areas across the state.

Documentary Wild Karnataka narrated by Sir David Attenborough to premiere in MarchPhotographs Courtesy: Wild Karnataka Team
news Wildlife Monday, February 25, 2019 - 18:26

It was in December 2014 that filmmakers Amoghavarsha JS and Kalyan Varma along with forest officer Vijay Mohan Raj, and naturalist Sarath Champati set out to do something very few have explored - film Karnataka's rich biodiversity in ultra HD.

More than four years later, the team is set to premiere the documentary titled 'Wild Karnataka' showcasing the wildlife in the state in all its glory and narrated by British broadcaster and natural historian Sir David Attenborough.

The release trailer of the documentary has generated buzz on social media and has already racked up almost 300,000 views in less than a week. "We wanted to focus on the entire bio-diversity and showcase lesser known flora, fauna. So we decided to focus on unique behaviour and locations," says Amoghavarsha JS, one of the filmmakers.

Bengaluru-based Amoghavarsha is an award-winning wildlife photographer and filmmaker who has worked with BBC and National Geographic in the past. But with Wild Karnataka, he is now exploring a topic closer to home.

Amoghavarsha JS

Kalyan Varma

"People from India have always looked at the western part of the world for natural history films so we felt it was time to change that perspective. India is no longer on the back-foot when it comes to filming technology and we are definitely not falling short when it comes to flora and fauna," explains Amoghavarsha.

He also believes that there is no shortage of  biodiversity in Karnataka and it is only waiting to be captured. "Karnataka is a state with the highest number of (Asian) elephants and tigers in the world. It’s high time we feel proud about the biodiversity in our own country," he says.

A team of 20 filmmakers worked in tandem with forest officials travelling through swathes of forest areas across the state. Starting from Gokak, the team went on to film over 400 hours of footage spending more than 20,000 hours on the field in Honnavar, Bidar, Sharavathi, Koppal, Hampi, Siruguppa, Bhadra Tiger Reserve, Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary, BRT, Nagarahole, Agumbe, Bhimgad and Daroji.

The team persevered through varying weather conditions and the threat of leeches to complete filming over more than four years. "The challenges we faced were the harsh climatic conditions and the lack of electricity which meant one had to travel for two hours to charge the equipment, patiently wait for days for the animals to show up in their natural habitat to film them. We also had to brave through heavy rainfall, blood sucking leeches and burning temperatures during filming," Amoghavarsha adds.

After filming the documentary, the filmmakers went a step further and managed to convince their production partners to get Sir David Attenborough on board to narrate the film. "Kalyan and I both were in Bristol few months ago and worked together to convince our production partner in UK and to get Sir David on board, it’s a long story but we did hustle and the quality of film really helped." Sir David has worked in a number of natural history films and has also narrated BBC's Planet Earth, a series spanning 11 episodes each of which focused on a different habitat on earth. 

The documentary film has been completed in collaboration with the Karnataka Forest Department and is set to premiere in Bengaluru on March 3.

All photographs courtesy : Wild Karnataka team

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