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Verve Trendsetters
December 29, 2014

Animal Kingdom

Text by Zaral Shah

Ashwika Kapur, the first Indian woman to win the prestigious Green Oscar for her film Sirocco, loves finding and filming unusual stories from nature

When she was just a four-year-old, Ashwika Kapur welcomed animals into her life by bringing a duckling home. As she grew, her love for nature increased and later, becoming a wildlife filmmaker was an obvious professional choice for her. So, at 22, Ashwika began her journey as a wildlife camera girl in South Africa; this led to work opportunities in different parts of the world. And she is one of the very few Indian women who have made national history film-making a fulltime profession.

At 27, she is the first Indian woman to win the Green Oscar for her short film Sirocco. “The Green Oscar is literally the highest accolade in the industry! Winning has been very humbling,” she says. This documentary on the rare, fascinating species of Kakapo parrots was filmed as a part of her post-graduation at Otago University, New Zealand.

Although Sirocco is close to her heart, the highlight of her career, the Kolkata-based film-maker says, was “sitting down with an arm around a three-year old cheetah Mzima in East Africa. It was a defining moment.”

Her work takes her frequently away from home. Comfortable amidst a variety of flora and fauna, she states, “I suppose you can be alone in the natural world, but you’re never lonely.” She is currently eagerly working cross-country on a couple of major wildlife small screen productions.

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