Published: 11th January 2021
Meet the student duo who shot a documentary about langurs and the risks they face in an urban city like Mangaluru
These guys shot a documentary on the black footed gray langurs found in Mangaluru. This documentary is now supported by the Mangalore Forest Division
I am sure that most of us would have seen families of langurs sitting on trees or buildings and not fought the urge to tease them by making faces or even offer some groundnuts or bananas to eat. They are one of the most commonly found animals in urban areas, jumping from tree to tree and even across buildings and compound walls. But why are we talking about langurs right now? Because of Sathwik P S and Dhyan C K's documentary Urban Langur of Mangalore.
While Sathwik is pursuing Architecture at NITTE University in Mangaluru, Dhyan is a Hotel Management student at Manipal Academy of Higher Education. Sathwik says, "We are childhood friends and have been into photography for a long time. Recently, when the lockdown rules were relaxed, Dhyan and I started discussing the idea of shooting a documentary. Initially, we thought of shooting a wildlife documentary. But we realised that it would take a long time to make and our semi-professionals cameras would not be able to capture the right shots for us. Though we were skeptical, we approached the forest department seeking permission to shoot the documentary but they denied us permission to shoot inside the forest."
Dhyan C K who was part of the documentary team
That's when the duo roamed around the city with their cameras. Sathwik adds. "We had reached Bajpe close to the Mangalore International Airport and observed langurs moving from one tree to another swiftly. The thought then dawned on Dhyan, 'What if we shoot a documentary on urban langurs'. Since there was a railway line passing by and some high tension wires on the top, we felt that it was a threat and risk to the langurs' lives. We decided to go ahead with the documentary. It took us nearly three months to complete the shooting as well as the post-production process."
Sathwik P S, another student who is part of the team
So what exactly does the documentary document? Sathwik says, "We know that langurs have been co-existing with humans for a long time. But they have adopted themselves from dense forest to urban areas. The threat to their life has increased with the development of urban areas. The places where we have shot this documentary — Bajpe and Kenjar — have patches of forest but there is a long railway line that passes through this. This makes the langurs' lives difficult. We have possibly covered more than two kilometres of railway line in this documentary. We have included clips of trains passing through this line in high speed, langurs sitting on the track and some even sitting on those high tension electric wires."
Despite no guidance or mentors, the duo got some great clippings that will keep you glued to your seat. The documentary, which is 11 minutes and 39 seconds, gives you a lot of information on langurs, their habitat, food habits and much more. Sathwik explains, "Dhyan and I would go every morning and evening in search of langurs. This process of field visits went on for two months. Aside from these clippings, it is the background score and narration that make the documentary unique. Vinay Rangadhol and Aathmaram Puttur have worked on the music and effects. The music borrows from the ethnic music played by the tribals in the forest. Meanwhile, Akshay Bhat, who is also an architecture student, has lent his voice as the narrator."
When we ask about their next project, Sathwik says, "We shot these documentaries in the month of June and July when we did not have regular classes. But now, our hands are full with assignments and classes to attend. So, we are planning to shoot our next documentary during our vacation. It will be about the migration of sea birds and how the dried back waters impact their migration."
Here is the link to watch Urban Langur of Mangalore | Dakshina Kannada | Official documentary youtu.be/