Film: Documentary ‘Tiger 24’ Has Teeth

When Warren Pereira began making a documentary film in his native India about a tiger reserve he readily admits, “I don’t know what I was doing.”

Of the dominant male of the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve he started to concentrate on, he says, “he had a cool beard.”

What he didn’t know luckily didn’t kill him, though it appears he got way too close in proximity to the nearly 600-pound Bengal tiger with the technical name of T24 who was known as Ustad.

Pereira also didn’t know what kind of film he’d be making until a shocking 2015 attack of one of the forest guards at the reserve that resulted in his death. Transported to the confines of a zoo, the tiger became a household name in India as the focal point of a public debate of safety vs. conservation in a case that led to protest actions and a case before the Supreme Court of India. 

The resulting film “Tiger 24” not only becomes a compelling nature film, but also a moral quandary. Was the animal just behaving naturally when a man entered a tiger reserve? Or was he a man-eater who put the nearby villagers in peril?

There are passionate arguments on each side of the case, and Pereira thoughtfully hears them out without using the information to steer the film one way or another. It’s up to an audience to consider what should have been done in a case that is further complicated by the placement of the reserve so close to a human population. 

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