The life and times of Machli

Debarati Palit Singh
Wednesday, 3 January 2018

S Nallamuthu, whose film The World’s Most Famous Tiger, to  be screened at the 12th Kirloskar Vasundhara International Film Festival, captures the beautiful life of Machli

Cinematographer S Nallamuthu’s film The World’s Most Famous Tiger will premiere at the 12th Kirloskar Vasundhara International Film Festival. The four-day festival which begins today, will be held at the Balgandharva Rangamandir.

The film follows the life of Machli from her prime to death. The Bengal tigress is the most covered and photographed animal in India. “I have been following this family for the last 10 years. In fact, her death in 2016, was my last coverage of Machli, who has delivered 11 cubs. I followed three generation of Machli including her three daughters.” Nallamuthu says that the film covers various aspects of her life including the conflict between the mother and daughter, and between the siblings. “In fact, I have exclusively documented her death. This is the first time the audience will see a wild tiger dying a natural death.”

Not many know that Machli has also contributed to tourism in Rajasthan. “My message through the film is very clear. If you protect one tiger, you are protecting 50 tigers because that’s the number of members in her family,” says the cinematographer.

He says that Machli’s popularity comes from not only from the fact that she is one of the most photographed tigress in India but that her family is spread across several National Reserves in and around Rajasthan. “Her daughter was moved to Sariska Tiger Reserve. At one point, all the tigers in Sariska were poached and for four years, there was not a single tiger here.

Machli’s daughter was therefore shifted there,” he says.

In the past, Nallamuthu has produced three films on Machli and her family including Tiger Queen, Tiger Revenge and Tiger Dynasty. He says that each film had a naturalistic story to tell. “I had covered one of her daughters when she was mating with a male and also when she was taking care of two orphan cubs. You don’t get to see such kind of stories. Getting them is a challenge.”

The film will also be telecast on National Geographic channel from next month.

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