Every shot in the trailer of the documentary Wild Karnataka depicts the rich bio-diversity of the State, from majestic animals such as tigers and elephants, which has the highest population in Karnataka, to lesser-known creatures. Wild Karnataka, envisioned by Kalyan Varma, Amoghavarsha JS, Sarath Champati, and Vijay Mohan Raj, is India’s first blue-chip natural history film, directed by Kalyan and Amoghavarsha along with other photographers. The film has been shot in 4K ultra high definition resolution, with an original score by Grammy-Award winning music composer Ricky Kej. The film premièred to an invited audience in Bengaluru on March 3.
The making of a blue-chip film is no easy task. It took four years to film and footage worth 400 hours was gathered. Kalyan, an international award-winning wildlife photographer, film-maker, naturalist and explorer, who does freelance documentaries for the BBC and National Geographic, Amoghavarsha JS, an internationally recognised, and award-winning wildlife photographer, and naturalist Sarath Champathi worked in collaboration to film the documentary. “Each film-maker and photographer has different expertise, which we have pooled in to make the film,” says Kalyan.
He adds: “The idea for the film came when, four years ago, Amoghavarsha, Sarath and I met Vinay Luthra, the former Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Head of Forest Force at Karnataka Forest Department. He said documentaries are primarily made for a Western audience, why not a film on Karnataka for an Indian audience?”
Wild Karnataka, says Kalyan, is a celebration of wildlife in the State. He adds: “We have not only documented tigers and elephants, but have also filmed lesser-known habitats such as Bellary in North Karnataka and Bidar in the North-eastern part of the State, and filmed species such as jungle cats, foxes, marine life, including coral reefs in Karnataka.” The highlight of the film is that Sir David Attenborough is the narrator. “He has not done too many films on India. He initially couldn’t give time, but we requested him to, and he came on board.”
The team of photographers include Prashanth S Nayaka, Sugandhi Gadadhar, Raghunath Belur, Adarsh Raju, Pradeep Hegde, and Pooja Rathod. “This is the first wildlife film in which we have an equal representation of women. Usually, women work in the production side of a film, and not on the field as much. In this film, the women have shot on the field and brought in a different perspective.
Following the main launch , Kalyan says: “We will have multiple screenings and eventually be on one of the streaming platforms.”