`Tiger Dynasty`: Observational docudrama packed with emotions

New Delhi: National award-winning documentary "Tiger Dynasty", tracing the journey of translocated tigers in India and shown in Britain as part of a special BBC series on endangered wildlife, is an action-packed story of adaptation and survival in unfamiliar territory.

Full of stunning close-up visuals of tigers and other animals in their natural habitat, the film by acclaimed wildlife cinematographer S Nallamuthu is about young tigress Baghani, who is chosen to start a new dynasty in Sariska, where rampant poaching had wiped out the entire big cat population.

There she is left to hook up with hot-blooded male suitor Rajore amid leopards and threat of poachers. And for the next two years, every aspect of their lives is followed by the camera.

"The film is about Baghani, daughter of Machli, who ruled the fort for over a decade in Ranthambore. Drugged and airlifted from her home in Ranthambore to her new life in Sariska, Baghani finds herself in new territory and faces opposition from leopards for territory," Nallamuthu, whose work bagged Rajat Kamal awards for best environment film and cinematography, told reporters.

After some initial hitches, Baghani gradually goes on to prove that she is top cut in Sariska reigning supreme over leopards.

However, there is a setback as Rajore is poisoned by villagers and Baghani is left alone without a mate. But authorities translocate another tiger to give Baghani company, and slowly it seems she is ready to be a mother and script history in Sariska`s conservation efforts.

The film, with music by Brett Aplin, is of 59 minutes
duration and shot in a high definition (HD) format. Infra red cameras have also been used.

With many firsts to his credit, Nallamuthu has worked on some of the country`s premier television shows ? "Living on the Edge", "The Great Escape", "Off the Beaten Path" and "Wheels".

Asked how his film is doing abroad, he says, "I was informed by BBC (which is showing the film in the UK. Animal Planet has bought the rights for the US) that the viewership in the first telecast was two million and the film got an 8.3 rating."

Nallamuthu, whose "Tiger Queen" made in 2010 portrayed how Machli was overthrown by Baghani, does not want to preach through his films.

"My films are mainly drama based ones. I love to make observational docudramas with lots of emotions and stories. My idea is to make people watch these dramas and realise for themselves how important animals are," he says.

The jury at the National Awards chose "Tiger Dynasty" for the "filmmaker`s powerful narrative that takes us deep into the jungle of Sariska and gives us an intimate and sensitive portrait of the life of tigers as they fight for survival in a challenging environment".

The judges also the rewarded the filmmaker for "photographing with stunning images tigers and other wildlife animals in their natural habitat and giving us visuals which are both unique and poetic".


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