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Nature at its pristine best

Asad Abid of Shoelace Films  

The scenes can leave you breathless. It is like a walk in the clouds; through the dense forests, waterfalls and the magical underwaters of Andaman islands. As Nayantara Jain introduces the beauty of the Andamans, the viewers soak in the spectacular imagery. On A way from Home Discovering the Andaman Islands - a video travelogue on TheVibe, it is back to the roots and nature.

Asad Abid, the executive producer of Shoelace Films is elated with the response his company’s foray into digital content production has elicited. The production house had humble beginnings in Hyderabad before moving to Mumbai. Shoelace had earlier launched its television series Way Back Home giving viewers a Himalayan experience. The feedback, he says, encouraged them to move ahead. Nayantara Jain (Tara) joins filmmakers Rohan Thakur and Bharati as they set out on an exploration of the pristine islands. Tara hails from Bangalore but the coral reef researcher, dive-instructor and a marine biologist has been living in Andamans for the past six years.

The first episode of travelogue was launched on June 8, coinciding with the World Ocean’s Day. “It is not like hosting; I have lots of fun and it is done in a very informal way. I take the team around Andamans and to places where I have not gone earlier,” says Tara.

“Our protagonists are real people who value the ethos of the series and are driven to pursue a lifestyle of their own choice and making, which stays true to their personas. This is one of the main reasons why the series will stand out as content,” points out Asad. In Away from Home, Tara shares her heartfelt experiences while introducing the many wonders of Andamans.

Sharing the experience of living in the Islands, Tara says, “Every single thing that you take for granted while living in a city is questioned here,” and explains, “Even six months ago, there was no mobile network; I have a cell phone only now. There is no internet or 3G connection. One should be willing to just be connected with the self and nature. On the one hand, it can be frustrating and one can feel isolated and on the other, it can be peaceful; it is a different existence where one is connected to nature.” She also talks about the advantages of living this way. “The positive feature is that one is never caught in traffic. Life is simple here,” she observes.

Asad speaks of the challenges the team faced while filming. “The Andamans are a highly protected area and for a good reason. There are indigenous tribes that are fighting to survive, and their lands and way of life have to be protected from modern civilisation. One is strictly not allowed to film or come in contact with these communities. Also the flora and fauna in the forests and in the sea are very fragile and rare and one needs to be extra cautious while shooting to ensure that their survival isn't interfered with. It was important for us to respect the laws of the land and find ways to experience things without disturbing the natural balance.”

The team almost fell prey to a salt water crocodile during the shooting but Asad says, it was all worth in the end. “Almost everything in the Andamans is out to kill you; from the poisonous stone fish to an innocent coconut falling on your head to unidentified bites… it could be anything. But when you get past all the rashes and scars, you experience a raw and almost prehistoric beauty that is very rare to find today.”

Agrees Tara, “I don’t miss anything living here. When you let go the city life, what you get in return is much higher.”

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2021 8:43:02 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/Nature-at-its-pristine-best/article14395188.ece

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