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Celebrating State's wildlife, culture

Rajyothsava special

CALL OF THE WILD (Top) Wildlife such as the freshwater jelly fish, (above left) the green vine snake and (right) the blued-eyed bush frog find a place in the video.   (photos courtesy: amoghavarsha)

A wildlife video set to a patriotic melody penned by poet H S Venkateshamurthy, and collaborated by popular music director Ricky Kej and wildlife photographer and filmmaker Amoghavarsha,will be released on November 1, reports Ashwini Y S.

Paying homage to the wildlife of Karnataka and its rich natural bounty is a City-based duo which has created the country’s first ever wildlife video that pulsates to the rousing rhythms of a patriotic melody.

The footage, which celebrates the State’s flora and fauna, is set to the tune of ‘Jaya Hai Kannada Thaye’, the lyrics of which have been penned by noted poet H S Venkateshamurthy. The video is set to be released on November 1, Rajyothsava, the State’s formation day.

Popular music director Ricky Kej, who composed music to this anthem two years ago, took up the project from a strictly conservation point of view, which couldn’t have suited wildlife photographer and filmmaker Amoghavarsha better.

“Karnataka is not just its people, heritage or its culture. Its wildlife is as much part of what makes the State so exciting. And since there are many species that help manage our eco-system, they need to be protected. This is our attempt at creating awareness, by bringing conservation issues to the mainstream,” says Kej.

Kej’s association with Amoghavarsha began two years ago through a common friend. “I have been a huge fan of Amoghavarsha’s work. I am a regular visitor to his website. I felt that his work on conservation in Karnataka is unparalleled,” he adds.

“When Kej saw my pictures/ footage, he couldn’t believe that they were shot in Karnataka. That’s when we felt that there was a case to be built, a point to be made,” says Amoghavarsha. What followed was over 40 trips to the Western Ghats over a period of 18 months, where the conservationist spent days camping in leech-infested rainforests, braving the abruptness and uncertainties of nature, sometimes over weeks, for a single shot.

“The objective was to take high-definition conservation content to the people through mainstream media, a medium they use to watch something entertaining. Documentaries essentially have a different set of audience.

Our aim was to reach the audience across the State in the local language,” adds Amoghavarsha, who hails from a family that’s passionate about Kannada. His father worked with the Department of Kannada and Culture for more than 30 years, while his mother is a professor of Kannada.

The video, which prides itself on showcasing the first ever shots of the fresh water jelly fish and the blue eyed bush frog discovered in Karnataka a couple of years ago, also features eight to ten indigenous and endemic species, including the Malabar tree nymph caterpillar, green vine snake, torrent frog and the charming little Indian roller, which has been classified as the State bird.

The species were shot in Agumbe, Sharavathi valley, Jog Falls, Yellapur, Sirsi, Kabini and Bandipur. “Some of the footage was shot in village areas that are yet to be notified as protected areas. It is in regions like these that we want to sensitise people more,” said Amoghavarsha. Singers M D Pallavi and Vijay Prakash have lent their voices to this 1 minute 40 seconds music video.

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