Directors Gautam Pandey and Doel Trivedi talk about their film ‘Gyamo- Queen of the Mountains’. Pandey is the son of noted wildlife filmmaker Mike Pandey, who is also a part of this film
CHRISTINE MACHADO | NT BUZZ
- What were some of the major challenges you faced while shooting this particular film?
Gautam: The film was done on a tight budget, money came out of our pockets until Animal Planet jumped in and helped us finish the film. The biggest challenge though was the rough terrain and even the simplest things would get even more complicated. We were shooting in winter, in -30 degrees temperatures, many roads would get blocked and so we had to walk around with the heavy equipment. There was a horse available but only for one day. For the rest of the duration we had everything in backpacks and were just walking everywhere.
- What were some of the things that stood out while you were shooting?
Gautam: When you start seeing the reality of the place and start to absorb that as a human being, to then focus on telling a story that people would want to watch and is not all gloom and doom is very hard. This is because as you start researching and spend time, you start seeing things that you normally would not see at first glance. For instance everyone loves dogs. But here feral dogs are actually killing the wildlife.
Doel: The other big challenge was how to begin shooting and how to find the leopard. I think it was the people on the ground, the locals, who helped us understand the landscape and made it faster than if we had just gone and tried to do it ourselves. The people who live there know the mountains like the back of their hand. They can tell one rock from the other rock and through them we were guided on where to begin looking for the snow leopard because it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack.
- What is your take on the awareness that people have with regards to issues of wildlife conservation?
Gautam: There is a general awareness. For example, everyone knows that plastic bags are bad. But, we continue unchanged with our own lives. A lot of time and effort has gone into creating awareness. Everyone knows the basics. These have been drilled into our heads now and we have become numb to it. But things have to change. There need to be stronger laws or rules where strict bans on certain things for actual change to come through.
Doel: I think another problem is that when people think of wildlife they only think of beautiful animals in the forest. There is no real connect and education on their importance. And I think that kind of information is our responsibility; to bring to light that forests and wildlife is not just about beauty but that they are keeping the entire local ecology intact.