Topic started by priya on Mon Feb 21 09:21:43 .
All times in EST +10:30 for IST.
Creating a dream leaves a nightmare in its wake
The next time you watch a gorgeous nature scene in your favorite movie you may want to ask yourself where that scene was shot and at what
cost. I don't mean the cost in terms of money that the producer incurred, because they will reap the monetary rewards in no time. I mean the indirect/intangible cost of production: The price that the local ecosystem paid when the movie was shot. The price that may never be repaid by man.
Consider the following excerpts from a news item in the 1999 Dec. 25th edition of THE HINDU. (http://www.indiaserver.com/thehindu/2000/01/19/stories/05192512.htm) It was regarding the Public Interest Litigation filed by the Tamil Nadu Greens Movement (TNGM) to stop a controversial film shooting at School Mund, Ooty. [emphasis mine]
THE ENVIRONMENT IS under severe threat in India. Rivers, beaches, forests and mountains are being destroyed by man, whose education and
knowledge hardly seem to warn him of the tragedy that can befall his children if he continues with his reckless ways. Rivers are polluted with industrial waste. Even the most renowned of the beaches - including the one in Chennai - are treated as huge garbage dumps. Forests are stripped of their greenery; animals are hunted down, and trees axed. Mountains present a pathetic sight; concrete monsters rise in expanding patches of ugly brown. Heaps of rubbish, especially tonnes of plastic, mar Nature's awesome canvas. In the midst of all this devastation, man remains unmoved and unconcerned, despite telling signs of poor monsoons and climatic warming.
The latest peril to the environment is cinema, and the Nilgiris in the south of India serves as a classic example. Film-makers, driven out of Kashmir by militants, have found a picturesque haven in these hills. They had been a
favourite locale since the 1940s, but movie-making was generally confined to summer, and to some pockets. It is only in the last decade or so that the entire area began looking like a large cinema set. Noisy trucks, smoke- spewing generators and tens of people marred the pristine beauty and quietude of the Nilgiris. Such activity there is particularly worrying, because the region forms
part of a rare biosphere reserve with invaluable flora and fauna. Priceless insects and birds, even some kinds of animals, are peculiar to the area.
Recently, well-wishers sought legal redress when they found that a Mumbai film company had erected a mammoth set on the fascinating Lord Wenlock Downs, close to Ooty. Although the court ruling was considered a victory of sorts for the environmentalists - the firm had to pay a fine and a fee of Rs. 50 lakhs - doubts persist about letting the movie men stay on for weeks together.
Experts say that it does not require guns to scare away wildlife; cameras are evil enough. Although this is not meant to be a case for banning cinema units from using the Nilgiris, there is a clear need to regulate such business ventures. While shootings must not be permitted - under any circumstance - in wildlife sanctuaries and national parks, they may be allowed in reserve forests, but with certain restrictions. Prolonged schedules should be avoided. The Mumbai film company plans to stay on for about three months, and one wonders whether this is at all wise. Animals jealously guard their territory, and if they are forced out of it - and they will in all probability, because film-making is invariably din and confusion - they tend to become confused and angry. Also perturbing is the fact that the men who create dreams on celluloid usually cause nightmares on the ground they tread on. The Nilgiris and other natural spots have had to cope with the mess that movie-makers left behind. It can take weeks for the grass to grow back. The damage elsewhere can be worse.
At a time when forests are shrinking - they cover about 10 per cent of the country today against 40 per cent a century earlier - the administration needs to take hard decisions, even if they knock off the smile from cinema. A blue sky and a green patch of land are perhaps preferable to grease paint and arc lamps.
However, in the final analysis, is it not time for film-makers and actors to pause and reflect. Most of them are well informed and capable of responsible behaviour; it would seem almost tragic if these mortals were to join poachers and rippers in the destruction of our environment. It is a sacred treasure to
behold, to be preserved for the generations to come.
i invite your views on this.