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For more than 30 years, Mike Pandey has been a man with a mission. In its special issue on Heroes of the Environment in 2009, Time magazine credited the maker of wildlife documentaries with efforts to protect “everything from whale sharks to elephants, vultures to medicinal plants.”
In 1994, Pandey became the first Asian film-maker to win the Wildscreen Panda Award, better known as the Green Oscar, for his film on the capture of wild elephants. He also won the award twice in the next decade.
In April this year, Pandey was honoured at an event to mark 100 years of Indian cinema. His latest film, a docudrama on India’s dwindling tiger numbers, has a Bollywood connection – and features Amitabh Bachchan and John Abraham.
Pandey spoke to Reuters India Online on making documentaries, why he stayed away from Bollywood cinema all this while and how his latest effort “The Return of the Tiger” hit a stumbling block in Madhya Pradesh. Excerpts from the interview.