BHUBANESWAR: He feels at home in the wild. Passionate about animals since childhood, wildlife photographer, conservationist and filmmaker, Sabyasachi Patra loves to be amidst the greens, shooting unique shots of animals in their many moods and myriad acts. A metallurgical engineer from NIT, Rourkela, and an MBA from Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar, it did not take much time for Sabyasachi realise his calling, which made him leave a lucrative career in an MNC to finally settle down where he belonged to.
Apart from making films, documentaries and commercials, Sabyasachi founded IndiaWilds in 2008, a website that aims at creating awareness about the perilous state of wildlife in India through wildlife photography, conservation, articles, nature and documentary films, discussion forums and empowering people with facts and knowledge so that they can raise voice towards preservation of the wild in India. As of today, IndiaWilds has 3,000-odd registered members.
“The articles, wildlife photography, films and personal experiences will also help increase our understanding of animal behaviour, explaining the complex web of ecological relationships between various organisms — big and small and the need to preserve the entire ecosystem, not just cherry pick an individual species and save it,” explains Delhi-based Sabyasachi.
It was when Sabyasachi’s father was on his death bed in the hospital in 2005 that Sabyasachi decided to get into a field related to animals. “My father was a zoology professor and I was exposed to various animal species from childhood and developed a fascination. This initiation triggered my interest and annual picnics to the nearby jungles in school and college fuelled my keenness to do something in the field of wildlife. My father had also gifted me many Jim Corbett books which helped me learn more about the wilderness,’’ says the 43-year-old who has earned many laurels for his creations.
Sabyasachi was awarded the Vasundhara Puraskar from Maharashtra’s Chief Minister in the Professional Films Category in 2012, nominated for special awards in Wildlife Vaasa Festival in Finland in 2012, his film A Call in the Rainforest was screened in Haida Gwaii Film Festival, Canada in 2012 and Kirloskar Vasundhara International Film Festival, Pune, the same year, Wildlife Conservation Film Festival (WCFF) New York 2013 and 2014. He is currently working on a documentary on leopards titled Leopards: The Last Stand. “I have been shooting it for last two years. I have already shot in Assam, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Karnataka.’’
Sabyasachi turned a full-time filmmaker since 2012 only after he had an up-to-date equipment system in place. He also does commercials, corporate and now, feature films also so that he has sufficient funds to work on projects of his interest and stories that need to be told.
“There are 102 national parks and 515 wildlife sanctuaries in India. As I spend many days in each place including repeat visits, I am not sure if one lifetime is enough to visit all the National Parks and Wildlife sanctuaries in India. Having said that, I have visited many of these beautiful places, each place is different and has something to offer,” says the conservationist who feels humans are unpredictable, animals are not. “I want to inculcate in people that they need not fear wild animals. Unlike other channels which create a fear among people about animal behaviour, I want to change it through my films and documentaries. I have shot leopards and tigers from close proximity and they don’t harm unless you come in their way,” explains the wildlife lover.