The Indian tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) of South and S E Asia is one of the most endangered, and admired species in the world – a peculiar paradox. Outside of zoos, most people in the world today only encounter tigers through film. This project will explore how film has contributed to changing perceptions of tigers over time, and how it may shape future responses to this endangered species.
The project will investigate how tigers have been represented in film, comparing a range of global film cultures with contrasting modes and genres. By using historical case studies and a diverse range of written, oral and film material, the project will consider how tiger 'performances' were managed and developed for use in film. Case studies will extend from Tromba (Germany, 1949) and Beyond Bengal (US, 1934) to Junoon (India, 1992) and The Jungle Book (US, 1994). The researcher will engage with the screen-industry professionals who facilitated the use of endangered/wild animals in film and explore whether the use of tigers reflected general practice in the use of wildlife or had its own special features.