The jungle theatre beckons you for some movie action. For the bookworms we have got a reading corner ready.
Gorillas in the Mist
It tells the true story of naturalist Dian Fossey's work in Rwanda with mountain gorillas. She formed anti-poaching patrols to save them from illegal poaching and likely extinction. Seamless blending of footage of real gorillas with costume gorillas will have you guessing. It deserves all the Oscar nominations it got back then. A classic not to be missed by wildlife enthusiasts – young or old.
Hayao Miyazaki's anime epic Princesse Mononoké is a critically acclaimed film, true to his trademark futility of war theme and environmentalist theory to the core. Few films are so inspirational and imaginative, and will enthrall both you and your folks. Magical faraway lands and forest spirits will make you wonder if Avatar was inspired by this film somehow. Not to be missed are the tiny white creatures who lead the protagonist through the forest.
Deux Frères/Two Brothers
No one makes them like the French director Jean-Jacques Annaud. Deux Frères/Two Brothers is a heart-warming tale about two tiger cubs, Kumal and Sangha, who are separated in childhood and later reunite. Set in ruins of Cambodian village temples, the landscape has its own exotic charm.
Xan Hopcraft dedicated a children’s book called How it was with Dooms to his wildlife photographer mom Carol. The film adaptation Duma is set in South Africa and recounts the tale of an abandoned cheetah cub being adopted by a boy on their ranch. A touching human-animal bonding story. It’s never late to see it if you already haven’t.
The Academy award winning documentary throws light on cruel dolphin hunting practices in Japan. Directed by former National Geographic photographer Louie Psihoyos and brainchild of activist Ric O'Barry, parts of it were filmed secretly using underwater microphones and high-definition cameras disguised as rocks. Sample some gutsy journalism in the film as you watch about the increasing hazard of mercury poisoning from dolphin meat.
78 year old oceanographer Sylvia Earle dives with sharks and exposes a major fishing operation. Her pursuit takes her from Australia’s Great Barrier Reef to fish markets of Japan in Mission Blue. It’s a gentle reminder of how we’re all interconnected as part of nature, and our choices affect the ecological balance of this planet.
The Baiga Princess
by Vithal Rajan,
Do you have a friend from a tribal land? If not, then read up to get one from the Baiga community of Madhya Pradesh. Who are tribal people – uncivilised pagans who are the ‘civilised man’s burden’ and brought into the ‘mainstream’ or people with their own wisdom who should be respected for their diversity and way of life? Jungu, the Baiga Princess answers these questions while telling a very interesting tale.
Sunil, a city boy accompanies Uncle Vish, a senior government official, to Chhattisgarh’s heartland, the forests where the Baigas live. Sunil is the city-bred, belonging to the ‘civilised’ lot, who think (as Motu, a character in the book, says): “What good are they anyway? Why have such miserable people around, uncultured, running around like animals?”
Sunil when on a walk in the forest meets Jungu and thinks little of her until danger accosts him. Jungu stands by his side, courageously, and protects him. As he gets to know more about her and her culture, a transformation in his thinking takes place. He shares his thoughts with Uncle Vish who is to decide policy around tribals’ rights over forests. What is most interesting are the Gondi words and phrases you’ll pick up on the way. How would you say 'yes' in Gondi? Ho! Lessons in the tribal language for free!
by Gangu Bai,
Gita Wolf and V.Geetha,
Decode the forest and its constituents from a Bhil’s perspective. It’s got all the trivia about how the Bhils revere their trees and how they are a part of their lives. The book carries vivid descriptions of berries, edible fruit and poisonous fruit, and that tribal children know how to know bad from good. You’ll find all the interesting tales about thorns of Sindi berry tree that make for a fine broom or how the Bhils seat Badadev, their great god under the banyan tree.
The forest secret and mysteries will keep you rapt with attention. Read up on the Chudel and its special tree.
The book points out that the forest is a place to have fun but also where one can encounter danger – snakes, wild animals, even spirits, but Bhils believe they are protected by their guardian spirits. The illustrations done by Gangu Bai in Bhil art form, mittichitra, literally mud paintings will keep you wanting to turn the page eagerly every time.
The book is written in memory of what life was for Bhils – as an epitaph of lost rights.
Our movies reviewer:
Ritika Jain, a graphic designer,
mom to 11-year-old nature buff and a litter of guinea pigs
Our books reviewer:
Anupam Srivastava, author of The Brown Sahebs and dad to two teenaged voracious readers