Discovery Channel has a new series called `Planet Earth' kicking off this monthIn all the talk about a smaller, globalised world, it is often easy to forget the sheer magnitude and magnificence of the world we inhabit. For those looking for that fascinating reminder, Discovery Channel has a new series called Planet Earth kicking off this month.
Wildlife footageWildlife filmmaker and four-time National Award Winner, Shekar Dattatri, said: "The show is unprecedented. Nothing on this scale has been attempted before." The most fascinating aspect of the series, which showcases footage of some of the rarest species of wildlife, is that a new dimension has been added by simultaneously shooting action sequences from the ground and from the air, he explains. "A lot of the footage has been shot using a gyro stabilised 360 degree video capture system, which hasn't been attempted before because of the expenses and resources involved. Aerial camerawork has always been used in Hollywood, so you could say that this series has a Hollywood approach to wildlife filmmaking." The result of the stunning expense and effort on the series, he points out, is rare material such as snow leopards hunting, a wild giant panda nursing her week-old baby and so on. For the sceptics in the crowd that don't see much point to wildlife programming that doesn't strongly push forth a specific conservation message, Dattatri points out that a strong message isn't always needed, and if one pushes a heavy agenda all the time, viewers are bound to be turned off. "If there are no wildlife programmes, then all people will be watching is KBC or cricket or Antakshari and they won't have any idea of the real world. The real world is outside, in the mountains, in the forests where the rivers are born... Without all that, this world we live in will collapse. We have to bring the real world into people's lives, and the best medium for that television," says the filmmaker, whose journey into wildlife conservation began with a stint as a volunteer at the Madras Snake Park run by Romulus Whitaker and later as an assistant on an educational film called Snakebite. Discovery Channel's Planet Earth is being screened on Thursdays at 8 p.m. with a repeat telecast at 6 p.m. on Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays. RAKESH MEHAR