When langur and bear come together to save a tigress
Wildlife protection is one of the most-talked about topics among the world today. How do we save our animals? How do we stop encroachment of jungles? How do we develop empathy for animals among humans? “Once we start understanding things from animals’ perspective, we will be able to accept the fact that we don’t rule the earth but are a part of this world just like other wild animals,” says filmmaker Deepak Arora who has written a book, Wild World: The Adventures of Bali & Bhola. The book is a hilarious story about how animals enter the human territory to save their tigress. In an interview with The Peeper Times, Arora talks about his love for animals, inspiration behind the book and how visiting national parks has changed his perspective with respect to humans as well as animals.
Tell us about your book, Wild World: The Adventures of Bali & Bhola.
The book is an effort to explore the world of animals and understand the world through their perspective in a wacky and hilarious tale.
The protagonist of the story is Bali, the langur, who decides to return to jungle after getting fed up of chasing monkeys in a city. The other important character of the story is Bhola, the bear, who escapes to jungle from the brutalities of his human master to lead a happy and free life. But their plans go haywire when other animals of the wild world plead with them to go back to city and find Rani (a tigress). Finding Rani is very important as the king of the wild world, Raja, is the last remaining tiger in that jungle. Once Raja becomes the next victim of hunters, the whole food chain would become unbalanced. To save them all, Bali and Bhola decide to leave for their adventurous journey. Would they be able to save the Wild World? Well, you have to read the book to find that out.
What was the inspiration behind writing this story?
I used to visit various national parks just to get a glimpse of a tiger. Though I was lucky just once, but experiences from these trips gave me a number of ideas.
What message would you like to give to today’s children?
Through my book, I have tried to put things from animals’ perspective so as to develop empathy for the wildlife among children. The idea being that once we start understanding things from their perspective, we will be able to accept the fact that we don’t rule the earth but are a part of this world just like other wild animals. So the next time, children visit a national park, they should not take it as a picnic trip but enjoy the whole experience of being in the wild world.
My first screenplay was Queen of the Jungle. It won me my first Moondance Film Festival award (USA) in 2006. I tried to bring that screenplay to the attention of producers in India and the USA. But Hollywood didn’t need it and Bollywood wasn’t ready for it
Your writing usually revolves around animals. Any specific reason for that?
I love animals and I love to write. But, it was not an intentional decision to begin my career in writing with stories about the animal world. After my excursions to various national parks, these ideas about the world of animals and the difference in how they perceive us and how we understand them started growing in my mind. So, I decided to write about them.
Why a book and not a film?
Being a filmmaker, my first instinct is to write screenplays. My first screenplay was Queen of the Jungle. I sent it to various competitions around the world and it got me my first Moondance Film Festival award (USA) in 2006. I tried to bring that screenplay to the attention of producers in India as well as the USA. But then, that was it. Hollywood didn’t need it and Bollywood wasn’t ready for it. So I put it in my table drawer and forgot about it.
Then I wrote Wild World and sent it to various competitions again. It impressed the jury of Moondance Film Festival this time as well, and I received my second Moondance Award in 2014. I also wrote a hindi version of the screenplay and sent it to Dada Saheb Phalke film festival 2015. It won the Best Screenplay-Jury award. But again, the film world wasn’t ready to accept it. However, this time, before I could put it in my drawer and forget about it, a thought occurred to me – If my stories are winning awards then there must be something good in them. And I knew Wild World is engaging as well as entertaining, I knew the message is good. I wanted Wild World to reach more and more kids so that they could learn and value our wildlife.
So, I decided to turn it into a book which was a challenge to me as I had never considered myself capable of writing a book. It took me around six months to complete Wild World: The Adventures of Bali & Bhola.
Any funny/interesting incident while you were working on the book that you would like to share with our readers?
Well, can’t recollect any incident per se but this whole journey of converting my screenplay into a book was interesting. For example, in the screenplay, I narrated the temple ruins by writing
“They have now reached deep inside the jungle in their home, which is a temple ruin. Surrounded by trees, the place has not caught the eyes of humans.”
But in the book, I had to narrate the whole area and how it looked, its history so that readers could visualise the place.
Is your next book also going to be about animals?
I am working on a few ideas. And yes, they are about animals. I am sure the readers are going to enjoy them just like the Wild World.