Poacher': This Nimisha-Roshan starrer highlights human-inflicted toll on wildlife | Review

Posters of 'Poacher'. Photo: IMDb

When you watch the documentary 'Our Planet', narrated by David Attenborough, you are immersed in a world teeming with wildlife. At first glance, it's easy to overlook the fact that this world is also inhabited by 'hunters' beyond those in the animal kingdom – namely, humans.

'Poacher', created by award-winning director Richie Mehta, explores the crucial issue of poaching and human ambition to dominate every aspect of the world. Starring Nimisha Sajayan and Roshan Mathew, the series is based on real incidents of illegal elephant poaching in Kerala, showing the Kerala forest department's efforts to apprehend the 'vettakkar', or hunters.

The initial report surfaced on June 29, 2015, courtesy of Malayala Manorama. It featured a front-page article detailing the tragic demise of twenty wild elephants at the hands of poachers in the untamed landscapes of Kerala's jungles.

The series is exceptionally crafted, focusing on the human-animal conflict that has persisted for ages and wildlife conservation. Elephants, whose ivory tusks are smuggled, are the victims in the series. Throughout the show, the presence of animals is deeply felt, as we witness various animals roaming around through the paths taken by the forest officers.

Nimisha Sajayan plays Mala, a committed range officer who makes it her life's mission to apprehend the poachers. Her deep bond with the forest and its wildlife emotionally drives her pursuit, a reason best understood by watching the series. She teams up with Alan (Roshan Mathew), a programmer, and is led by their senior officer Neel (Dibyendu Bhattacharya). Their only goal is to arrest the poachers at any cost, leading to an extensive investigative process spanning from Kerala to Delhi.

A notable aspect of the movie is its parallel focus on the investigation and the perspective from the animal kingdom, highlighting the challenges they face inside their habitat. The series urges viewers to contemplate the potential consequences if the roles were reversed, envisioning a scenario where animals retaliate by invading human homes and causing harm. Even for those not typically interested in wildlife, the series raises important questions about the dynamics between humans and animals.

The story is rich in emotion, yet it doesn't overshadow the overarching narrative. It encompasses emotions like sympathy, sadness, pride, guilt, and fear. Nimisha and Roshan's characters exemplify hope, representing individuals who genuinely care for wildlife and the environment. While watching the series, viewers may question Mala's occasional irrational behaviour. However, it raises the crucial point that without human advocates for animals, their fate would be bleak.

One noticeable aspect of the series, particularly for native Malayalam speakers, is the rigid use of textbook Malayalam by certain characters, which detracts from the authenticity of the dialogue, giving it a forced feel. Also, some of the emotional drama feels artificial at times. While Nimisha delivers a solid performance, it may resonate with her previous characters, making Mala seem similar to some of her previous roles. On the other hand, Roshan and Dibyendu impress with their portrayals. Kani Kusruti, though in a small role, delivers a strong performance, leaving the impression that her character could have been further utilized in the series.
Despite occasional pacing issues, 'Poacher' is undeniably a must-see due to its compelling subject matter.

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