It's easy to appreciate a tiger on a giant screen. Actually, it's easy to appreciate anything on a giant screen. The tiger, however, is probably best appreciated there for he usually does not take very kindly to petting and other related gestures of, well... appreciation in person.
But then, if you were as good looking, you would get tired of all the admiring glances too. A lame intro and a bad joke later, we actually have a story to tell!
School's might teach children how to read, but they do not teach them how to read between lines. Is India but the land of snake charmers, myths/folklores and tigers? It's so much more besides. And through the keen, discerning eye of the film maker we get a perspective on this. We said 'perspective', we did not precede that with the adjective 'fresh' - see, that's what we meant by 'reading between lines', you probably need to learn some of that too.
The 40-minute movie does not tell you anything you don't already know. But it makes you pause, think and process the knowledge, serving its function to perfection. Kingdom Of The Tiger narrates the story of the tiger through Jim Corbett's mind's eye. It starts in the year 1946 showing Corbett making a narration about the majestic Bengal Tiger, and takes you back to the year 1910. Of course, to those of us who weren't around in 1910, the 'back' does not apply.
The narration informs you that Corbett transformed from a wild hunter to a conservationist, only pulling out the gun to hunt down man-eaters. Tigers, that is. And when there is one on the prowl in Kumaon, the little hamlet in the foothills of the Himalayas where he was born, he responds to the SOS. The cinematography and the locales are breath taking - just as you would expect from a 'made-for-IMax' venture. The Kingdom, incidentally, happens to be the world's first IMax film on India.
The movie weaves the story of the tiger with brilliant hues of India's culture, tradition and her sense of spirituality. It makes you see the country for what it truly is - vibrant, variegated, vivacious and enigmatic. It's a pity, however,that we need foreign film makers to remind us of how rich we are.