Have dedicated channels for documentaries, educate and build the capacity of our rural people, says three-time Green Oscar winner Mike Pandey, who feels documentaries are an agent of change as they inform and educate the masses even in the remotest areas of the country.
"Even after 65 years of independence, 67 percent of rural India is still without education, information, and the basics. If we have dreams of becoming super powers, the first step should be to educate and build the capacity of our rural people and rural India," Pandey, who specialises in wildlife and the environment, said in a group interview.
"We need to address species. There are over 1,100 commercial channels in the country, but there isn't any single documentary channel dedicated to hardcore education," he added.
He was the first Asian producer-director to win a Green Oscar for his documentary "The Last Migration - Wild Elephant Capture in Sarguja" in 1994.
Later, his documentary "Shores of Silence - Whale Sharks in India" won him his second Green Oscar. The 24-minute film led to the ban on killing of whale sharks in India and their being declared an endangered species. The third one was for "Vanishing Giants".
Stressing on the urgent need for documentary channels in the country to educate the people, Pandey said education is the backbone of every society.
Pandey also felt that if regional cinema is integrated with Indian cinema, it will unite the nation.
"Regional cinema we don't get to see. Every year dozen of National Awards are given away, but who gets to see those films? Those films also constitute a part of Indian cinema; the people of India need to see them," he said.
"If you see pictures in Kerala and West Bengal, they are shown as Indian cinema, not regional cinema, then you are looking at the bigger picture, you are uniting the country.
"So personally, I think every state should have a documentary channel, at least two or three catering to different sections of society. At the same time regional cinema needs to be brought into mainstream," he added.
Comparing documentaries with education, he said that just like "education is not very popular", the same way "documentaries are not very popular because they don't entertain you, there is no drama.
"But life is not all drama, life is not about fantasy; how about giving people some value-based important information that will improve their quality of life?"
Pandey was recently honoured with the "People of the Year" title at the 24th edition of the Limca Book of Records awards.
The film covers the inter-dependence and inter-connection of fragile web of life that holds all life on the planet together and if one strand of the web breaks, it weakens the whole web; if one species disappear it will weaken life on earth.
In short, the film is about animals that run the planet.
(Aditi Chandra can be contacted at [email protected])