Passing by Sandesh Kadur's lenses narrate stories from nature

Dismiss it as a cliché but cinematographer/filmmaker Sandesh Kadur truly loves a walk on the wild side. Even when he is addressing an audience of film students, his mind is working towards his next project for which he will be off to Kaziranga next week.

“I spend a lot of time convincing forest department authorities to get the permits before shooting a film. All that effort is worth it once you get close to nature and finally get the footage,” he says, talking to us while in Hyderabad for the Wildscreen Festival, the international wildlife and environmental film festival 2011 organised by the British Council.

Sandesh Kadur's Sahyadris: Mountain of the Monsoons documented the bio-diversity in Western Ghats and won a clutch of awards at internationally. His short films and documentaries on wildlife have been telecast on BBC, National Geographic, Animal Planet and Discovery.

It was a path he chose out of passion. “As a child, I grew up being fascinated by insects, ants and pets. It helped that my father was an etymologist,” he rewinds. A self taught biologist, he travelled and observed nature, and pursued higher studies at the Gorgas Science Foundation.

As part of his work in the U.S., he got an opportunity to work in the forests of Mexico, an experience he cherishes till date. Later, as part of his project work, he came to the Western Ghats. “What was to be a three-month project work stretched into four years,” he narrates. Sandesh, now based in Bangalore, has filmed extensively in South India and has now focussed his lenses on the North East belt.

He uses photography as a tool to tell stories from nature. “We work with sophisticated equipment and document nature. During one of my travels, I found a 15-feet thick wooden panel bearing drawings and sketches of human and animal life, carved by tribes in Nagaland in the border of Nagaland and Burma. It's fascinating how they tell stories,” he says.

He explains how he sets up camera traps and uses time lapse technique to capture wildlife with the least interference, punctuating it with an emphasis on safety before passion. “In the south, you'd encounter elephants. In the North East, you come face to face with elephants, tigers, leopards, rhinos… In the last two weeks, three forest guards have perished as a result of animal attacks in Kaziranga,” he elaborates. Not one to put himself in danger, he states, “You have to be attentive in the forests and not let your mind wander.”