Whatever it takes

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Got the guts! A still from ‘Life'
Got the guts! A still from ‘Life'

Discovery Channel is about to showcase “Life” as it is

If you think you are the only one who leaves no stone unturned to gather your daily bread, you are thoroughly mistaken. No we are not talking about the next-door neighbour you envy. We have a breed of primates that has shown amazing improvisation. Clams are closed too tightly for Costa Rica's white-faced capuchins to open with their hands and teeth. So these intelligent monkeys have learnt to hammer them with stones to weaken the clam's muscle.

The breed is not alone, as there are hundreds of species before whose efforts to survive most human tales of endurance pale. Discovery Channel is now bringing all these stories to our living rooms with Life.

Starting May 24, the 10-part series is narrated by David Attenborough. It has captured some of the most compelling images of survival through high-definition filming techniques.

These include the first filming of a mating battle between male humpback whales from beginning to end, the Komodo dragon bringing down an animal ten times its size in a real-life drama, the bizarre mating ritual of the elusive Vogelkop bowerbird found in the deep forests of New Guinea.

The premiere episode provides an overview and sets the stage for the series. The other nine episodes include Reptiles and Amphibians, Mammals, Fish, Birds, Insects, Hunters and Hunted, Creatures of the Deep and Plants and Primates.

New Techniques

Rahul Johri, Senior Vice President & General Manager, India, Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific, says the series is also dubbed in Hindi and Tamil. “30 production teams with 70 cameramen shot across 52 countries. A hundred and fifty filming trips were made, and it took 3200 days of shooting to bring alive the epic series.”

According to Johri, some ingenious methods were developed to capture awe-inspiring images. A yogi-cam was developed specifically for the series. It allowed a camera to track smoothly alongside migrating reindeer and elephants. Intricate cable rigging was employed to enable the crew to ‘fly' a camera through thousands of monarch butterflies in Mexico, providing ‘butterfly-eye' perspective. Extreme slow motion photography reveals an astonishing image of a chameleon snatching insect prey with its extendible, muscle propelled tongue.

Some of the breathtaking images were showcased at a press conference in Delhi, but the one that touches you the most is that of a female Pacific giant octopus scouring the ocean floor for a safe place to hide and lay her eggs. For the next six months she does not leave her den. Gradually she starves, and in her last act of devotion blows water over her eggs to help them hatch. Then she dies. Well, when it comes to mother, species doesn't matter.




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