Review English (India)

Gyamo review: Wholesome lesson on more than snow leopards in the Himalayas

Cinestaan Rating

Release Date: 22 Nov 2018 / 42min

Blessy Chettiar

Directors Gautam Pandey and Doel Trivedi present a beautifully shot documentary on the ecosystem in the upper reaches of the mountain range.

Father-son duo Mike and Gautam Pandey embark on an exhilarating journey to find Gyamo, the female snow leopard, and her two cubs they had spotted on their previous winter trip to Ladakh. As they set up camera traps, a lot more is revealed about the cold wilderness's bountiful biodiversity.

Tsewang Norboo, a local guide and expert animal spotter, and his son Morup help the Pandeys to make calculated moves as they navigate through the unforgiving terrain and weather conditions.

While Gautam sets up the high-definition cameras and waits for weeks to see the footage, wildlife filmmaker Mike Pandey goes exploring the cultural context of an ecosystem shared by humans and animals like the snow leopard, fox, ibex, and marmots. Co-director Doel Trivedi is not seen in the footage, but her hard work is evident.

Doel Trivedi and Gautam Pandey at IFFI 2018 in Goa. Photo: Shutterbugs Images

Through his interviews with eminent personalities like monk Thiksey Ringpochey and David Sonam of the Snow Leopard Conservancy India Trust working in the space of conservation, preservation and minimizing of man-animal conflict, Mike Pandey unravels a whole new perspective of harm caused by increasing footfalls to the land of high passes.

From the genuine problem of garbage and plastic disposal to the increasing menace of feral dogs operating in packs and mating with foxes, the documentary becomes an eye-opener.

Gyamo: Queen Of The Mountains educates the viewer about the spiritual relationship Ladakhis share with nature. At the same time, it refrains from getting preachy as Mike articulately stresses the need for reconciliation.

Directors of photography Husain Akbar and Ankur Ahuja, along with Gautam, beautifully capture the pristine beauty of Ladakh. The visuals aren’t new, but the rich quality makes them stand out. Landscape shots of mountains ranges, close-ups of cultural motifs, and drone footage enhance the beauty of the oft-photographed region that attracts tourists like bees to honey.

With the help of monk Thiksey Ringpochey, Mike makes an indirect appeal to choose kindness and compassion in keeping with Buddhist teachings, so that balance is restored in nature.

Gyamo: Queen Of The Mountains has been made with an abiding love for nature and a fervent desire to preserve it in every small way.

Gyamo: Queen Of The Mountains was screened at the 49th International Film Festival of India on 22 November 2018.

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