Documentary by Mysore duo bags two awards
MYSORE: For Goutham Avarathi and M.R. Veeraraj it was just an honest paying off. Their first documentary film, “Slaves of The Lamp,” on the slender loris (“kaadu paapa”) bagged two prestigious awards in the 20th UGC-CEC Educational Video Competition. The duo received the Best Cinematography and Best Script respectively from Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal at an awards function held in New Delhi on May 12.
The film has been brilliantly shot by Mr. Avarthi (34), a BFA graduate in photojournalism, who researched the ways of the slender loris, which inhabits the Western Ghats, for over two years. The film has been edited by Raghunandan K.S.
The interesting fact is that both Mr. Veeraraj (47) and Mr. Avarthi are full-time farmers, but are passionate about wildlife and filmmaking. The movie was a result of two and a half years of hard work, mostly in the night as the slender loris is nocturnal.
The documentary was shot for the University Grants Commission - Pondicherry University.
According to Mr. Avarthi, the slender loris is a small nocturnal primate found only in the tropical rainforests of south India and Sri Lanka. They prefer thick and thorny vegetation where they can easily escape predators and find a large assortment of insects, their staple food. It is an arboreal animal, travelling along branches with slow and precise movements and living in the hollows of trees with in groups of up to seven.
Natives of the Western Ghats believe that the all parts of the slender loris have therapeutic properties, a belief that has proved life threatening to the primates which are poached often. The destruction of their habitat is also another reason for the decline in their numbers. “The decline in the number of slender loris forced me to make a documentary to educate the people,” Mr. Avarthi says.
Script writer Mr. Veeraraj points out that the slender loris are farmer-friendly animals and Karnataka's State animal. “But even most officials are not aware of the fact.”
“It was an honest attempt to create awareness about this animal which we really need to maintain biodiversity,”