Rich landmark in genre

Rich landmark in genre

Rating: 4/5

Wild Karnataka provides an extensive, expensive, and unprecedented coverage of the wildlife in the state.

The film competently imitates the style of BBC wildlife documentaries such as ‘Planet Earth’, and wears this reference on the sleeve by having Sir David Attenborough as the narrator.

The film traces a full cycle between the rains in Karnataka, from a time of lushness and abundance to a dry period when it’s hard to feed even the young.

People may not believe some of the things ‘Wild Karnataka’ shows if the filmmakers had not caught it on video.

In one scene, hornbills are seen gobbling poisonous fruits, one of which is enough to fell a man dead. In another, you see horny frogs stretch their legs seductively when mates are scanty.

The excellent editing by Adam Kirby sets up the drama with reaction shots and juxtapositions with other animals.

The music by Ricky Kej is where the film departs most noticeably from the BBC style. Kej uses Indian music, often with vocals, which serve as dramatic cues. As good as Kej’s music is, it is everywhere.

While ‘Wild Karnataka’ shows us what we have never been able to see, the filmmakers forget that the forest also has sounds that you will not hear anywhere else. And it’s very hard to hear these sounds over the almost continuous music and narration. 

Nonetheless, ‘Wild Karnataka’ is a landmark. A film that, hopefully, will inspire many more like it.

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