In December 2014, filmmaker Amoghavarsha JS and Kalyan Varma with forest officer Vijay Mohan Raj and naturalist Sarath Champati went to do something rarely explored and that was to film Karnataka’s rich biodiversity in ultra HD.
After about four years later, the team is all set to premiere the documentary titled ‘Wild Karnataka’ that shows the wildlife in the state is narrated by British broadcaster and natural historian Sir David Attenborough.
The trailer of the documentary has created a lot of buzz on social media and has reached almost 3 lakh views in less than a week. One of the filmmakers, Amoghavarsha JS said, “We wanted to focus on the entire bio-diversity and showcase lesser-known flora, fauna. So we decided to focus on unique behaviour and locations.”
Amoghavarsha hails from Bengaluru and is an award-winning photographer and filmmaker who have worked with BBC and National Geographic. But with the documentary Wild Karnataka he is exploring a genre he has worked on before and something which is close to his heart.
“People from India have always looked at the western part of the world for natural history films so we felt it was time to change that perspective. India is no longer on the back-foot when it comes to filming technology and we are definitely not falling short when it comes to flora and fauna,” explains Amoghavarsha.
He also believes that there is no shortage of biodiversity in Karnataka and it is only waiting to be captured. “Karnataka is a state with the highest number of (Asian) elephants and tigers in the world. It’s high time we feel proud about the biodiversity in our own country,” he says.
Filming a documentary on wildlife isn’t an easy task, the team went through varying weather conditions and the threat of leeches added to filming the documentary for more than four years.
“The challenges we faced were the harsh climatic conditions and the lack of electricity which meant one had to travel for two hours to charge the equipment, patiently wait for days for the animals to show up in their natural habitat to film them. We also had to brave through heavy rainfall, blood-sucking leeches and burning temperatures during filming,” Amoghavarsha adds.
After the filming of the documentary was completed, the next job was to convince their production partners to get Sir David Attenborough to narrate the film.
“Kalyan and I both were in Bristol a few months ago and worked together to convince our production partner in the UK and to get Sir David on board, it’s a long story but we did hustle and the quality of film really helped.”
Sir David Attenborough has worked in a number of natural history films and has also narrated BBC’s Planet Earth. The Documentary ‘Wild Karnataka’ will premiere in March.