An awakening call

“Whispers of Warming” A film     produced by Doordarshan and     directed by Anoop Khajuria has won ‘Golden Beaver Award’ in 8th National Science Film Festival held in Gauhati recently. The film also won Best  Technical award for Ashok Raina in editing. Getting this coveted award- competing 215 films that entered the competition, has brought attention to the prowess of Public Service Broadcaster in raising social and environmental issues. Rajeshwar Singh Raju has a candid talk with both awardees who hail from Jammu.
Rajeshwar: Congratulations. Golden Beaver Award in 8th National Science Film Festival, which is the top award in science films, is no mean achievement. How it will help the cause of science and environment related issues?
Anoop Khajuria : This award I dedicate to my team members Ashok Raina, Gopal Rao Cinematographer, Vaibhav Varma Script writer, T. Rigzin Ladakh team, video editor Rahul-Shahzad and Nandan Sharma. Our film focuses on                  the Himalayas and climate change. A significant part of western Himalayas fall in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. A major source of river water for Northern India and Pakistan, the film is a case study on the impact of climate change and Global warming on the Himalayas. It gives an indication to the policy makers and other stake-holders about impending vulnerability of the region to climate change. The stories bring forth the paramount need to improve scientific understanding about climate change and generate new knowledge on its impacts on the region.
Raj:  How have you done this ?
AK :  Initially when we were at concept stage, it was very difficult to visualize climate change and its impacts. It is like experiencing days and nights with dawn and dusk but not realizing that actually Sun is stationary  and earth is spinning on its axis. Mostly our knowledge about climate change is text book knowledge. We know for sure that Global warming and climate change are the issues impacting earth. How individuals and communities are experiencing it? How their lives have been impacted? How the resilience of the people is leading to adaptations and thereby providing solutions to their day to day problems. The film brings it all.
Raj: It is one hour film but it engages the audience till the end.  This credit goes to the creative Editor of the film Ashok Raina. Congratulations. Best technical award in Editing is the testimony to it. What were your challenges?
Ashok Raina:  When Anoop and Gopal Rao shot the film in two Himalayan seasons : winter and summer. What worried me was the the length of virgin footage that they brought to them. It was huge. We could have made two hours out of it. But they have really worked hard bringing creative energy in their shots. Problems and woes of communities facing vulnerabilities, positive effects of climate change, cultural spray, living styles and flavor of Himalayan languages.  All amidst the backdrop of climate change. We need to tell this all….
Raj: ……And you did it. You did it in an astute manner which is entertaining yet thought provoking.
Anoop: We all owe this to Gopal Rao, Ashok and Vaibhav. During our pre-shoot meets, we would often discuss about possible shots that Himalayas offer. I did not imagine that Gopal will bring out different colours and textures from undulating contours of Himalayan ranges. The striking  use of light and shadows on the mountains, Magnificent Himalayan canvass…snowy meadows, gurgling waters and frozen springs, we use Himalayan imagery to tell our                  story .
Ashok: For example a village of Zanaskar Himalayas where less snow fall has resulted in loss of species and the cattle rearing communities are  in extreme distress. Area remains cut off from the rest of the world for eight months because of inaccessibility due to road cut off. Human and cattle survival is possible on what can be stored during short summers. A lady coming with huge load of grass from far away distance tells it all.
Anoop : The underlying essence of the story lies in  ecological truism that all the species are interconnected in  intricately designed web of life be that plant or animal, big forests or miniscule algae have its defined role to play which cannot be disregarded except disrupting the natural balance. The climate change hot spots are now  obvious.  Our film in fact carries  message to the west and developed Nations and big cities that how human actions result in global warming and climate change impacting Himalayas – the source of water for plains down below. We need an urgent and swift action. The interplay of science, policy and practice in the Himalayas requires to be simplified as we did in our film to make people understand issues and vulnerabilities of climate change in an easy to grasp visual language.
Raj:  Do you mean that your next film is on the policies and practices ?
Anoop and Ashok : (Both Laugh)  We just want to relax. It’s been a long since I visited Jammu last. I want to come back on a long holiday and enjoy the street food of Jammu. Meet friends and smell the city for its unique fragrance.