Wooing the wild

Behind the lens

Wooing the wild

It is an impressive legacy — they are the third generation of wildlife filmmakers and photographers in a family where laurels and acclaim are the norm.

Vijay and Ajay Bedi are the youngest Asians to have won the Green Oscar and the only Indians to have won a nomination at the Emmy Awards.

With an impressive array of path-breaking documentaries, the brothers credit their success to their father Naresh Bedi,  the first Indian film maker to win the Green Oscar.

In a chat with Rajitha Menon, Vijay talks about his tryst with the wild.

When did you first develop an interest in wildlife filmmaking?
We have been working with dad since childhood, it was almost like an internship. We used to go to the forest with him and see how he worked. Even though it is a natural thing for children to follow in their father’s footsteps, it didn’t make it any easier for us. 

Why is this field important?
It is not about just showing the pretty side of forests. Our main concern is not entertainment, it is conservation. We hope our images coax the policy makers, conservationists and people on the ground to work in tandem to protect the environment.

How has the man-animal relationship in India changed over the years?
The conflicts have increased because of urbanisation. Animals have been living in our backyards for ages but of late they are being forced to encroach into our space because they have no where to go.

Favourite animal?
I don’t have a favourite as such but I will tell you the most challenging one to film. It is the Red Panda. It took us more than three years to capture the elusive creatures on reel. Sometimes we were filming in temperatures of around minus 30 degrees so that we don’t miss the Panda.

An unforgettable encounter?
Once in Jim Corbett National Park, a huge tusker charged at our jeep. Thankfully Ajay reversed at the right time or we would have been killed. But we still don’t think it was the elephant’s fault. We were the outsiders in its home.

One thing we can learn from animals?
Oh everything! Right from loving your families to respecting each other’s boundaries, we can learn so much.

What is the one thing that we as a country are doing wrong when it comes to conservation?
We are focussing on economic growth at the cost of the environment. From hydro dams to roads cutting into animal corridors, there are so many problematics aspects to our development. There should be a thrust on sustainable growth.

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