A collaborative effort by photographer Poorna Kedar and filmmaker, stage actor and director Bhaskar Gauribidanur, the wildlife documentary ‘The Kingdom of the Lion Tailed Macaque’ follows the life, habits and roles of the creature play in keeping the tropical rainforest healthy.
The lush green rainforests of Anamalai Tiger Reserve in Valparai, Tamil Nadu, is home to the lion-tailed macaque. Characterised by the grey-mane that stands in stark contrast to its black fur and amber eyes, these bearded monkeys have earned its name from their tail that resembles closely to a lion’s tail.
Kedar, who had a lot of unedited footage of the creatures approached him, and Bhaskar jumped at the opportunity. “It was an interesting project that came out of the blue. This species is at the verge of extinction. Thanks to deforestation and human interference, there are only 3,000 individuals of the species surviving today,” he says.
For the past 30 years, Bhaskar has been involved in theatre, making corporate films, and providing scripts and voiceovers to documentaries.
“Over the years, I gained certain expertise in the field. Documentary style narration is rather different from what you hear in corporate films, television commercials, or audiobooks. The feel and flow have to be gentle and underplayed. The narrator has to take care to not overshadow the documentary and maintain the perfect balance between the visual and the audio,” he says.
He has spent a lot of time with voice actors to master the art of delivering quality voice overs. “Today, at the cost of sounding boastful, I am one of the most sought-after voice actors in India. Filmmakers and studios from across the country seek me out for my voice quality and delivery,” he says. After dedicating a lot of time correcting the scripts that were given to him, about 20 years ago, he decided to start writing scripts himself.
His experience as a professional photographer has helped him visualise the images and find a story in them.
“I am not a wildlife photographer, but I have worked with many wildlife documentaries in the recent past,” shares Bhaskar. It took him a month to put everything together as a story. He reached out many wildlife experts to collate and verify all the information.
While Kedar and Bhaskar have known each other professionally, this is the first time they worked together.
The film has been making the festival circuits and has won the Jury Award at Audfest 2019, and was the finalist at Asia Destination Film Awards and International Strasburg Film Festival, to name a few.