Chronicling India’s tiger crisis in film


New Delhi : Filmmaker Krishnendu Bose has painted a grim picture of India’s tiger crisis and the dwindling number of the majestic animals in a film called “Tiger: The Death Chronicles”, which is being screened in the capital Thursday.

Support TwoCircles

The 63-minute English film that is presented, written and directed by Bose, a conservationist, will premiere at the India International Centre here.

“Basically it’s a film to share the truth with the people of the country. I’ve realised (while shooting that there are) a lot of things even I didn’t know as a filmmaker and a person involved with conservation,” Bose told IANS.

“Transparency is completely gone. We have trusted the state, we trusted NGOs and groups of individuals. But after trusting them for 30 years, they have completely let us down. This film is not only a blame-game. It’s about ourselves, and whether people like us have cared for the tiger,” he said.

Said Bose: “There are two questions: Is there any political will? And is there a will from the people to save the tiger? For the last 30 years, largely nobody has shown that will…”

He points out that there may be a total of under 1,000 tigers in India at present.

“Government figures emerging from a presentation made in Kathmandu, though not yet officially released, say there are less than 300 tigers left in Madhya Pradesh.

“The official figures say there are 700 tigers in Madhya Pradesh, which is popularly called the ‘tiger state’. The tigers across India could touch a figure as low as 1,000. It’s a very critical state. Our tiger figures have never gone down to this level ever,” the filmmaker noted.

Bose has been involved in conservation for two decades and specialises in conservation films.

“The tiger, the symbol of India, and one of the most charismatic animals to walk the face of the earth, faces its most severe crisis today,” he remarked.

Bose added that the tiger’s prey, habitat and the animal itself “are being decimated”. Travelling through “tiger hotspots” like Sariska, Panna and Buxa, the film attempts to “unravel the nuts and bolts of the crisis”.

It looks at states like Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Goa and “how they maybe trading their tigers and forests for more economic revenue”.

The film also maps the curious case of a mining project in the heart of a tiger habitat in Orissa. Apart from that, it highlights the positive work being done in reserves like Corbett and in the hills of Karnataka.

“Tiger: The Death Chronicles” tries to encapsulate some 30 years of diverse conservation attitudes in this country.

“For the first time ever, a film joins diverse voices – from tiger scientists and conservationists to ordinary citizens – to attempt a brutal and an honest assessment of the present and the future of the Indian tiger and its habitat,” the filmmaker said.