‘My Job is to Tell Stories that Need to be Told'
TerraGreen|March 2021
Gautam Pandey, a popular name in wildlife film festivals, such as the Wildscreen Festival, Jacksonhole, Jagran Film Festival, Woodpecker International Film Festival and many more, speaks to Elsa Lycias Joel about his passion, success, parents, and his love for the wild and untamed.
Gautam Pandey
When did your fascination for the wild begin? Your parents’ take on your choice!

My parents encouraged me to do what I am best at. Being son to my mother, a trained puppeteer who uses puppets as a tool to communicate with differentlyabled kids and my father Mike Pandey, a renowned wildlife conservation filmmaker had its advantages because they themselves never took up mainstream jobs. Growing up in Delhi, my fascination for the wild first began with photos and stamps followed by gigantic books from different countries. Those extraordinary pictures and content made me assume that wildlife existed in people’s fantasy. My first few summer vacations to Mussoorie and her surrounding mountains is still special to me because I came across real stuff—the sounds and sights of the forests and National Parks.

How often did you visit Mussoorie as a kid? Tell us about one special moment that pops up in your mind right now.

We went to Mussoorie every year for a month at a time. It was a different place then, much quieter and a lot of nature around us. It still has got some pretty wild corners left which are amazing to explore. One of my earliest memories as a 3-year-old though is from Ranthambhore. I remember Uncle Fateh Singh Rathore, the ‘Tiger Guru of India’ walking me down the steps at Jogi Mahal and I felt so small in the middle of a gigantic forest.

What was Pa’s bedtime stories like? Heard little Gautam loved insects...

Oh, Pa told you! Bedtime stories about his birthplace Kenya, of lions, giraffes, zebras made a long-lasting impact. Lion King is exactly how I imagined it. I think this drew me closer to animals. We always had a rescued or adopted animal with us. Dogs, kites, fallen chicks, reptiles and once a camel. Then, as a self-proclaimed wannabe entomologist, I collected dead insects and examined them under a magnifying glass. Bugs are amazing!

Did you take formal training in filmmaking?

After 8 years of working and learning to become a wildlife cinematographer, I signed up for an advanced film course at Sheridan College and spent a year and a half in Canada.

What was your biggest mistake as a cinematographer?

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM TERRAGREENView All

River Yamuna to Get Bubble Curtain

Geocycle—the global waste management arm of Lafarge-Holcim, that manufactures building materials, will implement the innovative ‘bubble curtain’ technology for the first time in India to stop plastic from entering the Yamuna River.

1 min read
TerraGreen
June 2021

Sustainable Nitrogen Management

Desideratum of the Decade and Afar. In this article, Dr Anil Pratap Singh highligths that there is an urgent need for sustainable nitrogen management as nitrogen pollution threatens to become a major environmental challenge in the years to come.

8 mins read
TerraGreen
June 2021

Vegan Leather

Prevents Pollution and Animal Cruelty. The leather industry is not only death for animals but also extremely dangerous for us as the rivers are polluted with toxic chemicals. The industry is a major contributor to global warming. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi writes about plant-based leather or vegan leather, the ethical and cruelty-free alternative to traditional leather.

5 mins read
TerraGreen
June 2021

New NASA Earth System Observatory to Help Address Climate Change

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will design a new set of Earth-focused missions to provide key information to guide efforts related to climate change, disaster mitigation, fighting forest fires, and improving real-time agricultural processes.

1 min read
TerraGreen
June 2021

‘Paani Bachao, Paisa Kamao' Scheme

Another Innovation in Punjab. To address the electricity–water–agriculture nexus problem in Punjab that has long confined the farmers, power utilities, consumers, and governments, an innovative approach was the need of the hour. In this article, Apoorva Bamal, Prajnasish Swain, and Amit Kumar tell us about the innovative ‘Paani Bachao, Paisa Kamao’ scheme in Punjab.

5 mins read
TerraGreen
June 2021

Who Killed Assam's 18 Asiatic Elephants?

Thunderbolt or Man–Animal Conflict? Can a herd of wild Asiatic elephants be killed by a thunderbolt? What would be its impact on the soil and trees if such a massive lightning strike at all hit the planet? Why the surrounding villages could not experience the sound of thunder along with bright rays of light? In this article, Nava Thakuria tries to find answers to these questions.

5 mins read
TerraGreen
June 2021

Restore Land; Sustain Lives; Promote Equality

World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought. In this article, Biba Jasmine helps deconstruct various ways in which the rate of land degradation and desertification can be seized. Given an understanding, desertification has an impact on the land area causing poverty rise, food insecurity, and high mortality rates, among other hardships, further leading to impoverishment, migration, and conflict. It is imperative to gauge ways in which land degradation and desertification have implications on ecosystem functioning and livelihoods. Let us come together this World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought and identify need for the concurrent attainment of social equity, environmental health, and economic wealth through addressing the challenge of land desertification, and degradation.

9 mins read
TerraGreen
June 2021

“CDRI Promotes Resilient Infrastructure to Withstand Climate and Disaster Risks”

Sandeep Poundrik is the Director-General, Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI). Here, he is in an exclusive email conversation with Abhas Mukherjee for TerraGreen.

7 mins read
TerraGreen
June 2021

Inviting Birds of All Feathers

What We Must Do for the Birds. Urbanization poses a major threat to bird diversity. Preeti Mehra tells us about a study backed by Azim Premji University that suggests ways to help combat it.

5 mins read
TerraGreen
June 2021

Sultanpur National Park

A Paradise for Birds and Birdwatchers. In this series of articles, Amarjeetsingh Bishnoi and Shakti Bishnoi share their wonderful experiences with their family in the lap of nature in Sultanpur National Park in Haryana. Last month, you read that they went to visit the sanctuary from their home in Delhi during the winter season. Now, read more about their vivid experiences there from winter to summer season…

3 mins read
TerraGreen
June 2021
RELATED STORIES

Three Phases of the Spring

Understanding the Pros & Cons in the Timing of Spring Bear Hunting

8 mins read
Bear Hunting Magazine
January - February 2021

Flying With Flaps

Fly like a pro by understanding the basics

7 mins read
Model Airplane News
January 2020

Memories In The Ivy...

One Tank at a Time

7 mins read
Classic Trucks
January 2010

The Mets and Cubs Are Favorites. Could This Possibly Be Real?

It's opening day and the Mets and Cubs are league favorites, hard as that is to believe.

6 mins read
New York magazine
April 4–17, 2016

When is it a time to kill?

Whether you rear your birds or buy them in, the fox will never be far away from them so don’t lower your guard, says Robert Bucknell

6 mins read
Shooting Times & Country
April 21, 2021

‘THESE CATS ARE LIKE MY THERAPISTS'

For big cat fanatic Gert the two tigers he’s raised from cubs are more than pets – they’ve helped to lift him from the depths of despair

5 mins read
YOU South Africa
11 March 2021

Tracking cheetahs

Wildlife cameraman Gordon Buchanan gets up close and personal to a wild cheetah family…

1 min read
What's on TV
January 02, 2021

All in a night's work

Paul Hobson recalls the trials, tribulations and delights of some unexpected garden visitors

5 mins read
Derbyshire Life
August 2020

Saving the Englishmen

In a bid to protect his linseed crop and a cherished pair of grey partridges, Simon Garnham sets out his decoys and gets to work

6 mins read
Shooting Times & Country
June 24, 2020

MEMORIES of MAYA

The author recounts his enlivening encounter with the tigress Maya, one he had seen and photographed seven years earlier as a sub-adult.

6 mins read
Saevus
March - May 2020