Movies

A chartered accountant, a wildlife film, international awards and buyers...

wildlife

MUMBAI: You may have not heard of this chartered accountant and lawyer who transformed himself into a wildlife filmmaker. But, TV channels in Europe are beginning to take note of Sumesh Lekhi of Brave Age Film Productions and his 84-minute documentary -- Bastion of the Giants which had a budget of around $100,000. This apart, it has also bagged many an award: Wildlife Conservation Film Festival, New York, Best Film Documentary Short International Movie Award and Indonesia, among other.

His professional degrees don’t really qualify him to do what he is doing. But, his passion for saving the environment led him to taking up the camera and filming in danger prone areas like the jungles, amongst elephants, tigers and scorpions.

Lekhi, who is a part of Friends of the Environment which helped save the mangroves in Mumbai’s Andheri Lokhandwala Complex Area and also resuscitate the lake there, decided to document on camera some of his activities as he went about on his conservation drive around four years ago. The idea to make a documentary on elephants sprang from this urge. Says he: “My childhood passion for nature and wildlife kept beckoning me away from urban life, taking me deep into the Indian and African forests to be with what I loved the most.”

Lekhi became the director of photography (DOP) himself and spent six years capturing scenes of the tuskers in their natural habitat in the Kaziranga National Park in the east of India (Assam). Says he:  “We went in the dense forests of West Bengal and tall grasses of Assam to study the elephant behaviour, uncontrolled environment of the jungles, filming villages around wildlife parks, writing the script, film editing, sounds and music design. In our film, we gave the insights gained over time spent with forest departments and villagers that live alongside these large animals.”

Lekhi says that filming in a dense forest of Kaziranga isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. The crew used to begin their day at 4.00 am, wait for the elephants to come out, so that they could shoot them for their film. Before setting out to film his pet project, Lekhi had reached out to some top-notch DoPs from Bollywood but they advised him to do it himself as wildlife filming is more run and gun style, especially in the dense forests; hence he decided to don that hat himself. “Filming animals requires rapid reflexes in terms of zooming in on animals; how much distance to keep from them so you don’t upset them,” he says. Hence, I became the DOP myself.”

Seeing his passion for the subject, Canon and Panasonic lent him the cameras to experiment with and he opted for HD, though he believes he would now like to move on to 4K HDR. Lekhi said that his film was made out of passion, and it was an experiment which has garnered great success.

His team included his wife Rashmi -- a fashion designer, to coordinate and record the sounds and then help in production and outreach of the message.

Talking about his experience in the forest, he says: “While we were shooting, the forest department used to come saying ‘jaldi aao’ (hurry up, come this side) because they knew we were from Bombay shooting for the documentary, so we used to go and capture all the animals coming to the field, and the guards driving them back.”

Lekhi also shares his experiences with an example of his hand. He explains: “The jungle was like our hands, and the spaces between our fingers were the villages. The elephants moved from point A to point B to C, which were the spaces going through the villages.”

He also adds that the guards knew the elephants, and the elephants knew the guards, with the former yelling at them “badmash vaapas jaa” (go back, you naughty ones) so the elephants would return but they would come out after 1km. 

Lekhi is currently following another pet subject of his:  the Great Bengal Tiger, if anyone can call it a pet of any sort. “I have already invested around $150,000 in Bengal Tigers,” he reveals. “And then there’s Prowling Undergrowth. Both of these are being made for the US and international markets and I am looking for co-producers.”

That should be a cinch for him as the interesting narrative and visuals of Bastion of the Giants caught the attention of Austrian natural history distributor ORF-Enterprise – a subsidiary of the ORF, Austria largest public sector broadcaster.

ORF Enterprise has since the past year struck licensing and syndication deals with Amazon Prime, CCTV- China, EBS- Korea and Love Nature channel-Canada. Despite all the accolades and international acclaim, Bastion of the Giants has yet to find a domestic broadcast partner as

Lekhi has been busy with his new documentaries and has yet to reach out to factual channels.

He is clear that his passion for conservation and filming natural history is something that is going to keep him pre-occupied for a long time.

“The business will come I know. Good work attracts it,” he says.

Inshallah, as they say.

Latest Reads

https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/08/04/saregama.jpg?itok=jRuMYecD
Saregama IP boosts profits despite revenue fall in first quarter

BENGALURU: India music label and movie studio Saregama India Ltd (Saregama) reported 100 times growth in consolidated profit after tax (PAT) at Rs 22.01 crore for the quarter ended 30 June 2020 (Q1 2021, quarter or period under review) as compared to the Rs 0.22 crore for the corresponding year ago...

Movies Hindi
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/07/31/ibhc.jpg?itok=t6uIl9ok
Impact of Covid2019 on the advertising and film industry

The entire film fraternity was shaken with effect to the complete lockdown declared by the Indian prime minister in mid-March 2020. Industry people who were otherwise engaged 24X7 now focussed on the 21-day countdown. Twenty one days turned into three months keeping the lockdown intact. Discussion...

Movies Hindi
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/07/23/impaa.jpg?itok=dmJUxSlJ
Quash Maharashtra govt’s age limit on sets: IMPPA to Bombay high court

MUMBAI: The Maharashtra government allowed shootings to resume but barred people above the age of 65 from participating, deprived them of a livelihood and because of which they are facing starvation, said the Indian Motion Pictures Producers' Association (IMPPA) in its petition, urging the Bombay...

Movies Hindi
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/07/13/movies.jpg?itok=XiB_JIcX
Theatres seek govt aid for re-opening; film producers observe global footfall trends

Social distancing might continue to be the norm even when lockdowns are lifted completely. Theatre owners around the country are in planning mode to resume business as soon as the government gives permission.

Movies Hindi
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/07/02/ficci.jpg?itok=gxkRG4H6
Multiplex Association of India expresses displeasure over decision to keep cinemas, multiplexes shut in Unlock 2.0

MUMBAI: On 1 June the government of India entered into unlocking by phases. As per Unlock 2.0 guidelines, offices, high streets, markets and shopping malls, airlines are opened but there is no relief for multiplexes. It continues to be included in the prohibited activities list. Today, Multiplex...

Movies Hindi
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/07/01/lionsgate.jpg?itok=ToUEPb3C
Lionsgate Play Premiers 47 Meters Down:Uncaged in English, Hindi, Tamil and Telegu

47 Meters Down: Uncaged is a 2019 American-British survival horror film directed by Johannes Roberts and written by Roberts and Ernest Riera and a sequel to the 2017 hit 47 Meters Down. The plot follows a group of teenage girls who scuba dive to a ruined underwater city, quickly learn they have...

Movies Hindi
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/06/30/laurence.jpg?itok=LQZ4DK5h
Series Mania announces official dates for 2021 and launches three new initiatives

MUMBAI: Series Mania founder and general director Laurence Herszberg today announced the confirmed dates for Series Mania’s 2021 edition.  Set to take place in Lille, France and the Hauts-de-France region, the Series Mania Festival is set for 19 to 27 March and the Series Mania Forum, to be held in...

Movies International
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/06/23/golden.jpg?itok=ltMGXPTx
Golden Globes postponed to 28 February 2021

MUMBAI: Due to the Covid2019 pandemic, the 2021 Golden Globes will now take place on 28 February instead of its usual slot. This happens about eight weeks before the 93th Academy Awards. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association said this in a statement. Last week, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts...

Movies Hollywood
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/06/23/UFO%20Moviez.jpg?itok=GJbDWnPF
UFO Moviez reports ad rev of Rs 302 mn in Q4-FY20

MUMBAI: UFO Moviez, an in-cinema advertising platform, announced its financial results for the quarter and year ended 31 March 2020. Financial Highlights: Quarter ended 31 March 2020  Consolidated revenue stood at Rs 1,094 (Q4FY19 – Rs 1,939) million.  EBITDA stood at Rs 275 (Q4FY19 – Rs 656)...

Movies Hindi

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories

* indicates required