Miditech does a 'Vultures: Death Watch' special for NGC

MUMBAI: In India, the once ubiquitous vulture, is now on the brink of extinction. Over a decade, their numbers have dropped by almost 90 per cent.

Vultures: Death Watch produced by Miditech for National Geographic Channel International sets out to find what's killing vultures on the Indian sub-continent. Is it a virus? Could it be that the increased use of pesticides in the past decade, is resulting in contaminated carcasses?


In India the special airs on National Geographic 26 March at 7 pm. Ornithologists across the world are alarmed. Vultures: Death Watch explores the dependence of man on this carrion eater. The death of the vultures could herald the end of age-old traditions and cultures. The Parsi community who leave their dead out in the open for vultures to scavenge on, fear that this tradition that is closely linked to their faith, will die out.

Shot over a year, the special found that the problem isn't localised and has now spread beyond India to Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan. It follows different theories and scientists as they battle it out to find what is killing vultures in the subcontinent.



The film follows Parsi and television personality Cyrus Broacha as he finds out how deeply the disappearance of the vulture, affects the traditions of the Parsi community who leave their dead out for vultures to feed on. Maintaining purity of the body and soul is one of the key tenets of the Parsi faith and the show explores how the community has been affected by the disappearance of the vulture in India.

The challenge before Miditech: The biggest challenge was also to put into a coherent story, the scientific investigation that has troubled and perplexed experts across the world. What was killing the vultures? Keen journalistic research work coupled with a taut narrative looked to resolve a mystery that was unfolding even as the film was being made.

Miditech CEO Niret Alva, who executive produced, scripted and narrated the film says, "The real challenge was to construct a story like a whodunit given the fact that vultures are not the most charismatic of species and a lot people associate them with death and bad tidings."

The supervising producer Pria Somiah says, "Considering that consensus on what was killing the vulture was reached during the making of the film, makes it very topical and we hope the film helps, even if in a small way, mobilise efforts to find solutions to the problem that is wiping out vultures in India. Trying to get to the root of the problem has not been easy. The vulture is an extremely shy bird and the vulture crisis has resulted in their numbers dropping so drastically that sighting them in their natural nesting habitat is very difficult."

The show's associate director Devika Ahluwalia says, "It was possibly the worst summer Rajasthan had seen in some years. The temperatures were soaring to 46 degees celcius and the sun seemed unrelenting. And this is when we began our hunt for a longbilled or white backed pair who were courting each other."

Talking about his experiences shooting the film cameraman Alok Upadyay, on the other hand says, "After waiting for the rain abate for a few days, the crew and I climbed these 50 feet high cliffs to get a view of the wooded area. The equipment weighed tons and the one hour climb seemed endless. But as we settled down on a narrow ledge and took our positions, the vultures started a performance. The soared and dived and flew around us as though they knew where the camera was."

Latest Reads
Star World to air 1-5 of 'Homeland'

Star World and Star World HD is all geared up to air the pulse-pounding action series 'Homeland.' The show tackles geopolitical moral conundrums of our current world. It has recently unveiled the teaser for the upcoming season 6 shows how Carrie Mathison will circumvent around another international...

Television TV Channels English Entertainment
Share all World Cup, T-20 feeds with Prasar Bharati, rights holder told

The telecast of all official one-day and Twenty-20 matches played by the Indian Men’s Cricket Team will henceforth have to be shared by the rights holder with the public broadcaster Prasar Bharati under the Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharati) Act 2007.

Television TV Channels Terrestrial
Saregama returns to film music acquisition with Pen pact

Saregama India has inked a two-movie deal with Pen Movies. With this agreement, Saregama has acquired the music rights of upcoming Bollywood releases of Pen which includes Kahaani 2 -- Durga Rani Singh, featuring Vidya Balan and Arjun Rampal.Kahaani 2 is slated for a release on 2 December.

Television TV Channels Music and Youth
Q2-17: Zeel numbers, PAT up on higher Ad and Subscription revenue

The Subhash Chandra led content and broadcast player Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (Zeel) reported a 23 per cent hike in consolidated revenue for the quarter ended 30 September 2016 (Q2-17, current quarter) as compared to the corresponding quarter of the previous year.

Television TV Channels GECs
Best Deal TV appoints Hari Trivedi as COO

MUMBAI: Best Deal TV has appointed Hari Trivedi as the chief operating officer with immediate effect. Based in Mumbai, Trivedi will be responsible for overall sales and marketing. He would also be initializing lowest price offers and deals on Best Deal TV.

Television TV Channels People
Disney announces successor of MD Siddharth Roy-Kapur

MUMBAI: Walt Disney International has announced the successor to its former managing director Siddharth Roy-Kapur. As a second stint with the organization, Mahesh Samat has made a comeback and will lead The Walt Disney Company India as the managing director. He will pursue his new responsibility...

Television TV Channels People
Life is more imaginative than fiction in a story like POW, says writer-director Gideon Raff

MUMBAI: Sometimes, coming back home after 17 years is not always a happy ending. "Prisoners of War" is the story of three Israeli soldiers, who were held captive for that many years following their kidnapping while on a secret mission with their unit.

Television TV Shows Thriller
IPL media rights bidding postponed sine die

MUMBAI: The BCCI has made it clear that the media rights auction cannot take place till the time it gets a concrete go-ahead and a formal approval from the Justice RM Lodha committee. Till the evening of 24 October (Monday), BCCI did not receive the okay from the committee which said, "it is in...

Television TV Channels Sports
Q3-16: DIRECTV mitigates AT&T U-Verse TV subscriber numbers fall

BENGALURU: AT&T acquired DIRECTV added 323,000 net subscribers and hence helped mitigate the company’s Entertainment and Internet Services Group (Entertainment) segment’s loss of 326,000 U-Verse subscribers for the quarter ended 30 September 2016 (Q3-16, current quarter). About 70 percent of...

Television TV Channels English Entertainment

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories