Wildlife Service Awards (2011)
Award-winning wildlife filmmaker and conservationist
Shekar Dattatri, One of India’s quietest and finest wildlife conservation filmmakers, Shekar Dattatri has successfully used film to spotlight the issue of our disappearing wildlife and habitats. He has been particularly effective in highlighting the dubious role of India’s development planners in the destruction of life-saving ecosystems. In an era when filmmakers succumb to sensationalism, he has stayed steadfast to his vocation – relying on gripping imagery and meticulous research to enlighten and entertain.
In 2000, convinced that natural history films made for television produced few tangible gains for conservation, he gave up a thriving career producing wildlife films for international channels to become a “barefoot” filmmaker for hard-hitting advocacy and educational films within the Indian context. His 12-minute film ‘Mindless Mining – The Tragedy of Kudremukh’, on a rapacious iron ore mining project in the middle of a rainforest national park in south India, helped convince decision makers to order operations to be stopped. His widely-screened film, ‘The Truth About Tigers’ has influenced a wide cross-section of people – from teachers, students, decision makers and politicians, to villagers living right next to tigerland. He has authored two books for children, and writes with passion on filmmaking and nature conservation for leading newspapers, magazines and journals. Determined, patient and skilled, Dattatri combines passion and practicality to make a significant difference to India’s conservation movement.
For this we honour him.