Sabyasachi Patra

Inspiration for the Film – A Call in the Rainforest

A Call in the Rainforest

The Western Ghats due to its rich biodiversity had caught my imagination since a long time. And I had been intrigued by the Lion-tailed macaques, not because they are endangered, but because of their similarity with our mythical Jambavan from Ramayana.

A Lion-tailed Macaque (Macaca silenus)

A Lion-tailed Macaque (Macaca silenus)

Though Jambavan in Ramayana is supposed to be a Bear, as a kid I used to wonder how bear and monkeys can be friends and when I first learnt about Lion-tailed Macaques I immediately thought that friendship among this species could be more probable than between that of a bear and monkeys. Your imaginations certainly run riot when you are a kid. As a kid, you don’t have any qualms of imagining things which are contrary to established beliefs and facts. Even today, I certainly don’t have the capability to reinterpret the Epic Ramayana.

The childhood fascination for the Lion-tailed Macaques remained dormant as we hardly find anything about Lion-tailed Macaques in popular literatures. Later on during my growing up phase, I was intrigued by the mating process of Lion-tailed Macaques. Unlike others, they need a series of mountings before ejaculation happens.

In the meanwhile, the countless shikar stories and jungle lore dished out by Jim Corbett, Kenneth Anderson, Gadadhar Ray and others, helped in my developing fascination towards the tiger, which turned into reverence. I have spent countless hours waiting for the tiger in waterholes or in trekking or in jeep safaris. Never did I think that I will be making a film on Lion-tailed Macaques.

With the disruptive technology in the form of HD filming capability built into a DSLR, I started filming to raise conservation issues. As a wildlife photographer and a conservationist, I still yearn for those pristine wilderness areas. Unfortunately, today not many areas can be described by the word primordial wilderness. Either, one finds the ubiquitous cellphone towers or signals, electric wires, houses or when one sits down to record the sound of chirping birds one finds the sound of some local songs wafting across and bombarding your ears. So in the past, I had ignored photographing animals in the road or close to human habitations or atleast where there are tell tale signs of humans.

A Lion-tailed Macaque chewing a polythene bag

A Lion-tailed Macaque chewing a polythene bag

When I look down memory lane, going more than a decade back when I had first visited the Western Ghats, the wilderness areas were comparatively in a much better state. Today, shocked by the devastation wrought by the human hand, I can no longer remain a passive spectator. I was moved by the plight of the group of lion-tailed macaques that live close to Valparai in the Anamalais. I have realised that this story is happening again and again in all the places. The only difference here is that the protagonists are different, as the animals impacted by the explosive and unrestrained expansion of our human habitations are different. However, the issues remain similar. This drove me to conceptualise, film and produce the movie “A Call in the Rainforest” to view the impact of our actions through the eyes of the protagonist – the lion-tailed macaque.

This film ‘A Call in the Rainforest‘ is a Call for Action. I hope you all will like the preview.

Cheers,

Sabyasachi

Sabyasachi Patra

Sabyasachi is an award winning DoP/Cinematographer, passionate wildlife filmmaker and photographer. He has been striving to make his films and photographs full of life and emotion and write articles to educate and evangelise the need for conserving the last tracts of vanishing wilderness and wildlife in our country. He hopes that his wildlife films, photographs and writings force people to pause, look, ponder and ultimately take action.
His documentary film ‘A Call in the Rainforest’ has been screened at various national and international film festivals.

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