Created to mark the 50th anniversary of India’s flagship conservation initiative, Project Tiger, a feature-length documentary film will tell the story of India’s ambitious mission to save a global icon from extinction.
Set to premiere on 4 November at Marakata, Chamara Vajra, the documentary film by Nature inFocus, a production house specialising in stories from the natural world, will focus on the untold story of Project Tiger. It will “showcase a narrative filled with scandal, intrigue, and political and social conflict at the heart of India's democracy,” states a press statement.
Project Tiger was launched in April 1973 when only 1,827 tigers were remaining in the wild. As a successful conservation story, the project has not only managed to significantly increase the tiger population to about 3,600 today but has also made India home to more than 70% of the global wild tiger population, according to a Hindustan Times report.
Backed by The Sandur Manganese and Iron Ores Limited, Discovery Village and Rainmatter Foundation, the documentary looks at the behind-the-scenes of Project Tiger, the ancient forests where they thrive, while delving into multinational wildlife crime networks to unravel some truths.
In a statement, Kalyan Varma, filmmaker at Nature inFocus, calls the documentary a testament to the legacy of India and a narrative that instils a sense of national pride. “This documentary is a humbling tribute to the unwavering dedication of the individuals, some perhaps left with no alternative, who played a pivotal role in catalyzing this transformative journey,” he adds.
The film takes people through the past to understand why and how the tigers became almost extinct. It tells the story of how India rallied its people to support the cause to save these big cats and in turn, the larger ecosystem. By telling an inspiring story, the documentary also aims to be a compelling call to action.
Project Tiger features a passionate group of contributors, including Emmy award-winning Indian filmmaker and conservationist, Belinda Wright, leading big cat conservationist, Debbie Banks, conservationists and the founder of Sanctuary Nature Foundation Bittu Sahgal, and the world's foremost tiger expert, Dr K Ullas Karanth. They throw light on the real cost of conservation in human terms and its impact.
“A story of Indian conservation told by Indian people, in a country where their deep-rooted connection with nature has manifested into a single movement. This is the essential conservation narrative for our times,” says Rohit Varma, filmmaker at Nature in Focus in the statement. Ultimately, it’s a story of hope, he adds.
The film will premiere on 4 November at Marakata, Chamara Vajra, Jayamahal, Bengaluru.