‘Secrets of Wild India', a three-part series highlighting the diversity of Indian wildlife, recently won the ‘Best Television Series' award at the International Wildlife Film Festival held at Montana in the U.S.A.
The series had to compete with films from across the globe at the prestigious festival. ‘Secrets of Wild India' was commissioned by National Geographic and is currently being shown in India.
Talking to The Hindu about the award, Saravanakumar, principal cinematographer of the series, said that the three episodes covered three different ecosystems.
The first was about the grassland ecosystems of Kaziranga with elephants as the main subject.
The second, ‘Tiger Jungles' was filmed in Tadoba, Maharashtra, and is about the central Indian forests with the tiger as its principal character.
The third episode, ‘Desert Lions', was filmed in western India, in the arid lands of Gujarat and Rajasthan.
The principal cameramen for the series were Indians, a rare occurrence in the international wildlife film making circuit, Mr. Saravanakumar said.
The episodes on the tigers and lions were cinematographed by him. His team members were Kalyan Varma from Bangalore, who did additional photography, and Mandana Dillan from Coorg, Karnataka, who recorded the sounds. The film on elephants was shot by Sandesh Kadur of Bangalore.
The time given to shoot each episode was minimal; just 50 days per episode. Most wildlife films get 100 or 150 days per episode. Many big series are shot over many years.
Considering the severe constraints faced during the filming, the award comes as a big encouragement for all the hard work put in by the crew. Most of the shooting happened during summer when temperature averaged 45 degrees Celsius and peaked at 47 degrees Celsius.
The added bonus was the fact that it was narrated by Sir David Attenborough, a rare privilege for a film that is completely about India.
It is a matter of pride that the films that were completely shot by an Indian crew with severe constraints, had gone on to win such a prestigious international award, he said.