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News on date : Monday, 19 November, 2018

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Corbett’s Legacy
Mon, 30 -Nov, -0001

Corbett’s Legacy – a
documentary film by wildlife film makers Naresh & Rajesh Bedi is a celebration of the success of tiger conservation in Corbett National Park, a wild landscape preserved for humanity to enjoy forever, and a tribute to Jim Corbett and FW Champion who were instrumental in its formation.
Bedi Films have produced the documentary for the Uttarakhand Forest Department with the help of CAMPA funds to commemorate the Platinum Jubilee of Corbett National Park. The film, along with an exhibition displayed at Dhikala, narrates the early history of Corbett National Park and aims to increase interest about Corbett NP’s rich heritage. The film will go a long way in fostering awareness among thousands of tourists visiting Corbett National Park about these remarkable men – Jim Corbett, hunter, naturalist, photographer and writer, and FW Champion, forester, writer and photographer - and their globally famous books that continue to inspire young people towards conservation.
Jim Corbett and FW Champion were friends who thought of tiger conservation way back in the 1930s, almost forty years before the launch of Project Tiger by Government of India. Jim Corbett was passionate about tigers and deeply concerned about their fate and rapid loss of their habitat. Champion was an IFS officer who served for twenty-five years in the Forest Department till India gained independence in 1947. He was posted as the Deputy Conservator of Forests in Kalagarh Forest Division after the formation of Corbett NP. Champion’s pool situated near Sarpduli FRH is named after him. The then Governor of United Provinces, Sir Malcolm Hailey’s fore-sightedness and efforts by Jim Corbett and FW Champion resulted in the formation of Hailey National Park on 8 August 1936. At the time of its formation, it was India’s first NP. Together, they dreamt of making it one of the foremost National Parks of the world. The NP was renamed Corbett National Park in 1957 as homage to Jim Corbett after his death in Kenya.
This beautifully crafted film by the Bedis follows Jim Corbett’s life illustrating some significant events using archival footage and stills. It also touches upon the role of FW Champion in pioneering wildlife photography. The film attempts to document and preserve rare archival footage shot by Jim Corbett and FW Champion in Uttarakhand (Nainital, Kaladhungi, Lansdowne and Corbett National Park). This footage was obtained from the British Museum of Natural History and the British Film Institute during the research carried out under US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Wildlife Institute of India’s “Collaborative Project on Development of Interpretive Facilities in Corbett National Park”. With nine hours of disorganised silent material, it was a challenge for the Bedis to sort out the footage, identify and edit it, and enrich by adding natural sounds and music along with a commentary to convey a story. Tom Alter’s deep knowledge of Jim Corbett’s writings and philosophy and fifty years of long association with Corbett Park as a tourist comes alive in the narration and presentation of the film.
In the first half of the film, Corbett’s famous hunts of man-eating tigers have been reconstructed to give viewers some idea of the ugly and dangerous situation Jim had to face to eliminate man-eaters, bringing to an end the misery and fear faced by the village folk. The film beautifully reconstructs Corbett’s shooting of big tiger - The Bachelor of Powalgarh - which measured 10.7” and was not a man-eater. Jim turned to his cine camera to record magnificent cats on film. With his passion, Jim Corbett could record seven tigers on cattle carcass in a Baur river including a white tigress. One of the climaxes of the film is the big shikar by Lord Linlithgow, Viceroy of India during 1936 to 1942 that was filmed by Jim Corbett himself.
The second half of the film deals with the rich wildlife and sheer beauty of the Corbett National Park- a paradise of Nature situated in Uttarakhand in the foothills of the Himalayas. Bedi Brothers’ love Corbett and have been visiting it ever since they were children. With their cinematic skills they have beautifully captured the diverse habitats, fauna and flora of Corbett NP. They have been extremely lucky to film tiger mating and three week old cubs following their mother, shot for the first time in Corbett and film the Ramganga landscape from a hot air balloon.

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