Watch a film and help a defenceless animal today. How? AT PVR in Lower Parel today, a 12-minute documentary of the work done by NGO In Defense of Animals (IDA) India since 1996, shot by photojournalist and ad filmmaker Tunali Mukherjee, will be screened. And if you’re not on the invitee list for that, you can catch the film on Facebook and Youtube.
Mukherjee, a self confessed animal lover, first visited IDA India’s shelter (Deonar and Turbhe) a few years ago and volunteered her photography services. They soon took her up on this offer and asked her to film their work in the hope of generating much-needed funds. Mukherjee says, “We shot for a year. Even though IDA India is doing some great work, they don’t have enough money. The shelter does not turn away any animal that comes to them. If they don’t get the money soon they will have to shut down in the next six months.”
IDA India’s work focuses on sterilisation, treating injured animals, providing foster care and setting them up for adoption. However, they try to return the animals to the same locality they were found in since it becomes tougher for the animals to be accepted in a new place.
The 26 year-old’s documentary also focusses on the work IDA India does with horses. She filmed veterinary doctors visiting tongawalas. She says, “When the tongawalas saw the camera they were not very forthcoming as they claim the media shows them in a bad light. But when they saw the doctor with me they opened up.
The doctors told the tongawalas how to take care of their horses and gave them free medicine and consultation.” Mukherjee says that unlike other organisations, IDA India does not believe in confiscating the horses but empowering their owners. They even built a shelter for the rain-soaked horses near Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus.
The documentary is receiving help and recognition from influential quarters. Director Nikhil Advani was so moved that he decided to screen it in conjunction with his film Delhi Safari. He says, “Delhi Safari is a film that helps build compassion and love towards animals and the film works in tandem with this message. Hopefully this film will garner attention and start the ball rolling to protect our animals.”
Mukherjee and many professionals like the editor and music directors volunteered their services. Mukherjee even roped in her students from the BMM course of various colleges she teaches at.
Along with the invitee screening today, the documentary will also be available for viewing on the IDA India website. It will also receive an international screening in America in December when Delhi Safari releases there.