‘Dynasties’ shows life of five endangered animals

‘Dynasties’ traces the life of five endangered animals and how they safeguard their territory and their families

Dynasties’ captures and portrays the life and times of five endangered species, showcasing the struggles the animals have to go through and the challenges they face in conserving their ilk. 

Bengaluru-based wildlife photographer Kalyan Varma, was a part of the team that assisted Sir David Attenborough and the makers of the iconic Blue Planet II and Planet Earth series in the filming  of ‘Dynasties’, which premieres on Sony BBC Earth on June 17 at 9 pm. Kalyan, takes time off to chat with Metrolife, about the making of the series and the challenges involved.

What are the endangered animals that we are talking about?

So there are five key species we have focused on - tigers, chimpanzees, penguins, painted wolves and lions. Each of these animals are in danger in one form or in the other.

Why did you choose to call it ‘Dynasties’?

We really wanted to show how animals progress from one generation to the next. For some animals in the wild, having a powerful family or ruling a powerful family is the most important thing in their lives. It gives them a chance to grow their habitats and have the most offspring in the next generation which is a primary goal. So, we called it ‘Dynasties’ because you can see the next generation growing up and how all animal clans get passed on from the mother to the cubs that grow up and come of age. In a nutshell, it’s all about the cycle of life and family.

Could you list out two challenges that you faced during the making of the film?

Challenges were aplenty. What you see at the end of the day is a few minutes if it on television. But it has taken the team around 200 days to film. We spent hours in the forest but the animals never showed up even for a minute. The interesting bit is that you need a lot of patience because, sometimes, two months go by without actually getting anything useful. And the other thing is to let the animal be while you keep at it to get the shots again.

Any memorable moments during the shoot?

I worked on the Tiger episode and probably the biggest thing during this shoot was Raj Bhera getting a sense of the vehicles around. The moment she could sense it, she would be shy and would keep the cubs from coming out. But since we were around the area for a while and spent a lot of time around her clan, eventually there came a time when she would get the cubs out without any fear or hesitation. To have a wild animal like tiger get familiar with us and let her cubs move in front of the camera was the most touching moment for me. 

Any lessons learnt in the process?

It made me realise the importance of patience. In a day, we had only 12 hours of filming time.  And the tigers slept for 11 hours. So we could do nothing but wait for that perfect shot to happen. Being patient was the key to getting this project done.

Why should one watch ‘Dynasties’? 

This is the first time one is trying to tell a story of the celebrated yet endangered species.

‘Dynasties’ is not just about animal behaviour, it’s also about the challenges and struggles these animals have to deal with to safeguard their lives, their clans and make a space for themselves.

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