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Sunday, April 05, 2020

Wild Wild West

Born and brought up in Pune,wildlife photographer Chinmay Rane talks about his documentaries and the work he has been doing in a village in Himachal Pradesh

Written by Sneha Dey | Published: August 5, 2013 2:55:15 am

It takes a lot of courage to hear the little voice inside you and follow what ultimately satiates your soul. Call him valiant or impulsive; Chinmay Rane left Pune at the age of 16 to pursue his passion — wildlife photography. And since then,he has been traveling like a vagabond.

In 2007,Rane started off his career as a wildlife volunteer at Agumbe Rainforest Research Station (ARRS),a field based on conservation and research organisation in the central Western Ghats of South India. During his research period,Rane made his first ever independent documentary on King Cobra. “The film proved to be a turning point of my career,” says Rane,adding the documentary led him to the School Of Audio Engineering (SAE),London,one of the most renowned college worldwide in the fields of digital film making,music production,audio engineering and multimedia.

While North Eastern Diaries,a wildlife documentary by him,made to the Green Oscars,other wildlife documentries — Return of Clouded Leopards and Secrets of Wild India,got featured in National Geographic . “North Eastern Diaries is very close to me since I directed and edited the film solely by myself,” shares Rane mentioning the storyline was on the relationship between tigers and rhinoceros.

Behind every successful man,there is a mentor who prepares him from the initial scratch. For Rane,it was Sandesh Kadur,the National Geographic explorer of 2013 and the founder of Felis Films. “I learnt a lot from him and I am glad we worked together for many projects,” recalls Rane. However,Kadur was not his only teacher. “My parents have always been my moral support in rough times,” says Rane,adding that his mother was also a wildlife photographer.

The urge for exploration took Rane to a small village in Himachal Pradesh,Kibber,Spiti,with a population of few hundred people. Philanthropist by heart,26-year-old Rane wanted to do something for the locals there. “I started interacting with the local people and eventually got associated with Kibber School,” says Rane. From little kids between the age group of 4 to 15 years to the elderly,all came together at Yulwa Makang,a community centre made by Rane where he caters to the problems faced by the rural youth and also conducts extensive personality development classes. Besides,he teaches them computer science,photography and plays with the children through exercises like identifying animals and watching animated films.

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