5 Indian Documentaries That Draw Our Attention To The Often Ignored Environmental Crisis

5 Indian Documentaries That Draw Our Attention To The Often Ignored Environmental Crisis

As we move into the year 2021, there are one too many issues that the global citizens are grappling with and trying to find a solution for. One of them has definitely been the global pandemic that brought the entire world to an eerie halt. As the world now moves back to a supposed sense of normalcy, there are still a few pertinent issues that cannot be overlooked any further.

The one topping that list is the fast deteriorating condition of the environment that can cripple humankind and wash it away completely.

Thankfully, there are various people who, in different capacities, are trying to bring the many environmental issues to the attention of the general audience and organisations that can bring about conducive changes.

Visual storytellers are bestowed with the power to bring these stories to the audiences in the most compelling way. Their documentation can make viewers empathise and move into action.

To that end, here is a list of a few documentary films that bring together the often-overlooked crisis in the environment, and reiterate through their visual work, the importance of each element in the proper functioning of the ecosystem.

I. The Boy Who Saw More (2019)

The Boy Who Saw More is a film directed by Shaktiraj Jadeja and Pankaj Singhji. The film, through its visuals, takes us through the deep mountain valley of the northernmost part of the country, Ladakh. Here, the film charts the journey of a young school boy, Nordon, who, unlike his peers, wants to live in Ladakh as he continues to investigate the hidden gems that stay hidden in this beautiful valley.

This movie also briefly reflects upon the incredible work that the Snow Leopard Conservancy India Trust is doing in terms of educating the children and the local folk of the region.

The film was screened on the World Environment Day by the Wildlife Conservation trust.

II. Shores of Silence (2000)

Directed by Mike Pandey, this is the first film to be shot in Indian waters. The film documents the mass slaughter of whales. The movie, which is bound to raise the hair on the back of your neck, was able to draw the attention of the government towards making legislative amendments that led to a ban on the killing of whales under the Indian Wildlife Act, 1972.

The film was also able to transform people’s attitude towards this giant creature – from being its predator, the people of the coastal towns of Gujarat became its guardians.

Besides winning the prestigious Green Oscar in 2000, the film has also won accolades including the National Award for Best Adventure & Exploration Film, 2005.

Shores Of Silence- Documentary films

III. The Weeping Apple (2005)

Directed by Vijay S. Jodha, the film illustrates the complex and the interwoven impact of climate change on biodiversity. Set in the state of Himachal Pradesh, the film focuses on the shifting apple-growing belt. The state is known for the cultivation of apples, but due to rapid climate change, warmer climate, melting of the snow has adversely affected its cultivation and the livelihood of the people dependent on it for survival.

The film is a good example to showcase how everything is tightly interconnected in the ecosystem, and how negligence can cause irreparable damage. The film was made in association with various institutes [institutes like??]

to provide scientific reasoning to understand the impact of Global Warming. The film was inaugurated by the famous radio voice Mark Tully and was later also broadcasted on Discovery channel.

The film was awarded the UK Environment Film Fellowship Award, 2005.

IV. The Man Who Speaks Nature (2018)

The award-winning short documentary is based on the life and work of Manoj Gogoi, a conservationist based in Kaziranga, who has dedicated his life to the rescue and rehabilitation of the wildlife. The film was made by Assamese filmmakers, Dhritiman Kakati and Raktim Hazarika.

The film is an attempt to provide a sneak-peek into the life of a naturalist and the intersectionality of his personal life with his profession, which also his passion.

His drive to relentlessly pursue the conservation of the wildlife has led to him rescuing and rehabilitating almost 4000 species of flora and fauna.

The film, shot with a bare minimum budget, has bagged innumerable awards at documentary film festivals, including the ‘Best Film’ title at the 5th International Nature Film Awards in Godollo, Hungary, which was held from May 23 to 27 this year.

V. Char... The No-Man’s Island (2012)

Sourav Sarangi’s Char... The No-Man’s Island (2012) depicts the life of people displaced from their village in Murshidabad district of West Bengal. Their village suffered the direct brunt of the Farakka Barrage that was created across river Ganga and that led to the gradual erosion of their small village.

Left with no choice, the people of this village move to the small island created in the middle of the river due to the change in the course of its direction.

The river which originally acted as a border separating India from Bangladesh left the people with no statehood – on the brink of an identity loss.

Shot over a span of ten years, the film documents the life of a young boy, Rubel. Young for his age but matured by circumstances, the boy realises that it won’t be long before his home will disappear in the upcoming monsoons. Despite all, he keeps his hope alive and dreams of a day when he can travel back to India, where his real home is, and continue his studies for a better life.

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