‘Bollywood films should build environmental awareness’

February 21, 2011 06:17 pm | Updated 06:17 pm IST - Kolkata,

To promote conservation of bio-diversity and build environmental awareness, Bollywood films can play a big role, says UK-based conservationist Richard Edwards.

“If there is little bit of an attempt from mainstream cinema like Bollywood to present issues on environment and wildlife, then it will help us reach more audiences,” Edwards told PTI here.

Citing the example of Hollywood films like ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ and James Cameron’s 3D saga ‘Avatar’, Edwards said that when issues are raised through popular films, the masses understand it better.

Based on the theory of an abrupt climate change, Roland Emmerich’s ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ (2004) was a science-fiction disaster film which depicted the catastrophic effects of global warming.

“It is a very good example as it was successful in helping understand people what climate change can do to their lives,” Edwards said.

Besides working with ARKive, an online visual encyclopedia on nature, he is the chief of the ‘Wildscreen Festival’, the world’s largest wildlife and environmental film festival.

He was in the city to showcase eco-wildlife films for a ’desi’ avatar of the ‘Wildscreen Festival’, organised by the British Council.

Visual media is now recognised as one of the most powerful, engaging and emotive ways to sensitise audiences towards the cause of environmental conservationism.

Besides providing an important historical record of the planet’s endangered plants and animals, films illustrate the sheer beauty of the natural world, inspiring an entire generation of conservationists across the globe.

Edwards said that films made on nature have a wide spectrum and can be made purely for the fun of it, if not to deliver any message.

“It is not necessary that all such films need to be hard-hitting and serious. We can even make nature films for the masses with pure entertainment value, sans any message.

“If more people are able to relate to nature and environment through an entertaining film, even then the purpose is served,” he said.

Pointing out that Indian documentary makers like Mike Pandey have been successful in promoting the cause through his films, Edwards said that India needs more such efforts.

Documenting the massacre of whale sharks on the Indian coast, ‘Shores of Silence’, made in 2000 by Pandey, became a landmark film after it was successful in moving the Indian government into bringing in a legislation and ban the killing of whale sharks.

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