It was a proud moment for Karnataka state on October 25 as a documentary film celebrating its wilderness, biodiversity and ecological systems got awarded with the prestigious national award.

Wild Karnataka was produced by wildlife filmmakers Amoghavarsha JS and Kalyan Varma in collaboration with acclaimed naturalist Sarath Champati and with the support of Chief Conservator of Forests at Karnataka's Forest Department Vijay Mohan Raj.

Poster of the wildlife documentary Wild Karnataka

The film was narrated by David Attenborough with music composed by Grammy-award winner, Ricky Kej and edited by Adam Kirby. At the 67th National Award, the film bagged two awards: one for best narration/voice-over and the other for best exploration.

Sharing his excitement of receiving the award on the special occasion, filmmaker Amoghavarsha thanked everyone who had been a part of the journey.

After being released in March 2019, the blue-chip docu-film premiered at an open-air theatre at Bengaluru's Palace Grounds to an audience of 3,000 people. In 2020, the film went on to become India's first wildlife documentary to be screened on the big screen, eventually making its way to the television screens through the Discovery channel.

Bahar Dutt, author of Rewilding India took to Twitter to share this crucial milestone where wildlife films are getting their due attention and recognition.

However, the exquisite film has been refrained from being screened, broadcast, marketed, sold or distributed in parts or as a whole in an interim order issued by the Karnataka High Court, extended till November 17 in its recent hearing on October 25.

The filmmakers landed in a legal battle after a petition was filed by Ravindra N Redkar and Ullash Kumar RK, against alleged commercialization of the film and deprivation of Karnataka Forest Department (KFD) of its rightful share of proceeds, reported Live Law media outlet. 

A copy of the plea made available by Live Law states, "The Public Exchequer has been cheated and deprived of Crores of Rupees worth of revenue and furthermore, the Tiger Foundations/P.A.D.F have been deprived of donations which would have legitimately served the cause of conservation, especially in the current pandemic when the need to protect our natural resources and maintain a clean and healthy environment is highlighted."