Nitesh: "In my film I have given message that biodiversity around us is also precious and as important as biodiversity found in the forests."
Issue VIII Exclusive Interview Empower
Interviewed by Darshana Prabhutendolkar
3rd April, 2021
Nitesh Parulekar, born in Vengurla, studied 'Applied Arts-Advertising' in Kolhapur, and recently won the Filmfare Award- short film non-fiction category 2021. Previously, he has done Manali- Leh solo cycling, trekking and painting exhibitions across Mumbai and Pune. He is currently working on his first illustrated, wildlife book for children in Marathi.
What inspired you to make ‘Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary’ short film ?
Nitesh: Long ago, I had seen a Slide Show "Urban Wildlife". The presentation was about wildlife found in cities and towns. When I was stuck at home due to COVID-19 Pandemic, I decided to shoot the glimpses of wildlife found around my home, in my backyard in the village of Pinguli. My parents always taught me to respect animals, even snakes. So I wanted to give a message that we don't have to go to the far-off forests to see wildlife or to conserve wildlife. If we give protection to the animals around us, our backyards also can become 'mini sanctuaries'.
Have you taken any formal education of film making / photography ?
Nitesh: I have not taken any formal education of film from any Institute. But India has a long thread of 'Guru-Shishya' tradition of education. I have learned film making from two Gurus. One of them is 'Sachin Balasaheb Suryavanshi' who has also won filmfare award in 2019. He guided me in the entire process of this film. My another Guru is 'Amit Vilas Padhye' who is a renowned musician in Marathi film industry- he not only gave his precious music for my film, but also taught me much about sounds in the film.
How was your journey of short film making? What hurdles did you face and how did you overcome them ?
Nitesh: It was like a dream, Started as just a curiosity and reached this Award. It was my first film, so I faced many hurdles in technical things like editing, filming. My friends helped me to solve those problems. Only big hurdle I faced was the malfunctioning of my camera due to atmospheric moisture. So I couldn't shoot videos for a long time, I used that time to edit the clips, and refine my script.
How do you feel after getting the coveted Filmfare award for your short film ?
Nitesh: I am really very happy to win this award. When I received call from Filmfare, they told me that "You have to be present at the function". They didn't tell me that I had won this award. So it was a sweet shock to me when I heard my name as a winner at the function.
How do you relate to environmental conservation and biodiversity ?
Nitesh: Since long, I have worked in Wildlife Survey Projects in Karnataka, Chattisgarh, Maharashtra. We see many organizations doing conservation work in and around forest areas. Many people are interested to give their time for conservation. In my film I have given message that biodiversity around us is also precious and as important as biodiversity found in the forests. So we can conserve nature by protecting biodiversity around our homes.
What message would you like to give to our readers ?
Nitesh: This film itself gives a positive message, but making of this film has also a positive approach towards life. I converted COVID 19 disaster into an opportunity, and I won the award. So always be positive in life, rewards are awaiting you.
Nitesh's Social Profiles
Nitesh's Award Winning Short Film