Life in the wild

Life in the wild

 Sandesh Kadur on an expedition.

It is precisely this challenge that motivated Bangalore based Sandesh Kadur to quit the family business and don the mantle of a wildlife photographer, committing himself to documenting the natural treasures and wonders that still survive in the Western Ghats, a few hours drive from his City.

Wildlife photography often involves going out in all weather, at unearthly and anti-social hours of the day and night in the vain hope of that elusive image.
“Photography is a ‘powerful tool’ that can be an agent of change – its ability to capture a moment means that it can record changes in a landscape that won't otherwise be told,” he said at a  screening of his film Mountains of the Monsoon at the British Council recently.

The film itself was the result of Sandesh’s quest of an elusive creature that caught his imagination many years ago, a large ash grey cat which the locals call a Pogeyan.
In spite of extensive research and culling through archives in dusty libraries, the Pogeyan did not turn up anywhere nor did it fit into any of the categories of wild cats documented by wildlife experts. Sandesh, therefore, made it his mission to find and study this fascinating creature that locals occasionally spot but has never been studied up close and personal by anyone till date.

“Only 10 per cent of the the Western Ghats exists in its natural state today as does only a fraction of the wildlife that lived there for centuries.”
“Under threat from plantation owners or politicians, who want to build new dams instead of maintaining old ones, even this last surviving bastion of wildlife is under severe threat like many of the places of natural beauty in
India today,” he added.

Although he never manages to capture the Pogeyan on film, Sandesh captures some of the most beautiful haunting images of the Western Ghats, its flora and fauna, its breathtakingly lovely landscapes, its misty mountain tops and its sweeping
natural beauty very effectively. Through camera traps and never-ending patience, he brings home poignant images of a young prey caught by a relentless predator, an eerily beautiful purple frog and a vulnerable baby elephant.

The Pogeyan remains his ‘Holy Grail’ or talisman, an object of desire, unreachable and elusive to the very end. Hopefully this wonderful
film will awaken a sense of urgency among us to conserve and protect what we have left in the Western Ghats.

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