Private Project

Bird trapper or Beggar

SHORT SYNOPSIS- “If I trap a prey I am a Hunter, if not I remain a beggar!”

They are a free spirited nomadic tribe who began their journey many generations ago in the North Western part of the Indian subcontinent.
Over time they traveled through and settled in different states of the country.

As they moved, they survived through trapping birds and hunting small game in the forests and selling them in cities and towns along with lucky charms and trinkets.
If the trap failed, begging was the next best bet!

The film emerged through a series of community conversations held when we travelled with friends from a settlement in Bannerghatta, Bangalore to other settlements across Karnataka.

Exiled from the forest, reviled by the city, their traditional ways of life outlawed, the Hakki Pikkis share their stories of wit and survival.

  • Vinod Raja
    Fragrance of the first rain, The bee, the bear and the kuruba, Mahua memoirs, Vanishing trails.
  • Madhu Bhushan
    Fragrance of the first rain, The bee, the bear and the kuruba, Mahua memoirs, Vanishing trails.
  • Madhu Bhushan
  • Vinod Raja
    Fragrance of the first rain, The bee, the bear and the kuruba, Mahua memoirs, Vanishing trails.
    the bee, the bear and the kuruba, Vanishing trails,
    Many films and several awards,
  • Project Title (Original Language):
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 19 minutes 26 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    April 15, 2017
  • Production Budget:
    15,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital Full HD , 4K
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
    Black & White and Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Film Premiere completed at Chamundeshwari studios
    July 22, 2017
  • India International centre
    New Delhi
    August 4, 2017
  • Social justice film festival - Goethe Institute Chennai
    September 14, 2017
    inaugural film
  • 19th Madurai international film festival
    December 6, 2017
  • Social justice film festival at CEPT university
    January 7, 2018
    inaugural film
Distribution Information
  • Vinod Raja & Madhu Bhushan
    Country: India
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - Vinod Raja

Vinod Raja Producer/Director , Grass Roots media ,
Sculpt n time productions

Graduated from the Film and Television Institute of India-FTII with a specialisation in cinematography 1984-85 . As the director of photography, filmed many advertisement commercials and Public awareness films shown on television channels and film festivals. As DOP photographed many documentary films shown on International Television channels and Film festivals.


1995 -TOLI CHINUKA or ”The fragrance of the first rain” 22 minutes, on the indigenous water harvest systems through tanks ponds and lakes in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

The film premiered at the Mumbai International film festival of shorts documentaries and animation films, MIFF -1996.

2001- The bee,the bear and the kuruba. 16mm, 66 minutes, on the indigenous people protesting against the opening of a luxury resort in the core area of the Nagarahole National park, while they were being forcibly thrown out. 35mm and 16mm print of the film was shown at many festivals across the world.

21st Bilan du film ethnographique, 2002, Musee del Homme Paris.
32nd International Film Festival of India-IFFI 2001.
United Nations Association Film Festival- Stanford-2001.
7th Mumbai International Film Festival-MIFF 2002.
Film South Asia, Nepal, 2001.
Planet in Focous, Toronto, 2001.
10th Environment Film Festival 2002, Washington DC.
Cine Eco 2002, Portugal.
6th environmental Film Festival 2002, Istanbul, Turkey.
River to River film festival- 2002 Florence.
Open Frame PSBT & UNESCO 2003.
Asian social Forum 2003 India
Siemenpuu Film Festival, Helsinki , Finland 2011

2006- Photographed a Hindi/Dakhni feature film titled Doosra, 35mm Cinemascope, premiered at the International film festival of Kerala in 2007

2007- Mahua Memoirs, Digital video.
Saloo, the bard and Thirku the Baiga take us on a journey through the lives of the many tribal communities who live in the mountain tracts and forests of the Eastern Ghats. The film unfolds the life visions and struggles of the Adivasis or indigenous people against mining that is mercilessly decimating their lands and lives.

Festivals and awards 

3rd SIGNS film festival, 2007 Thiruvanathapuram, Kerala. 
The best Cinema on resistance

10th Mumbai international film festival of shorts, documentaries and animation films
Silver conch
The Indian critics award

1st international documentary and short film festival of Kerala IDSFFK- 2008 
Best long documentary.

4th One Billion eyes Film festival held at Alliance Francaise , Chennai.
Best documentary.

Global Investigative journalist conference GIDC 2008, held in September at Lillihammer, Norway. Showed the film and presented a paper on the making of mahua memoirs.

2008- Vanishing trails, tales of the nomads. 40 minutes. Screened at CHOTRO,the international indigenous peoples meet held at Tezgad near Baroda, Gujarat.

2008 to 2011 Photographed many documentaries.

2010 to 2015 Worked with International Institute for art culture and democracy IIACD on India Digital heritage project -IDH Hampi documenting the Vijaynagara murals.

2017 Co-curated the documentary section of the 9th Bengaluru International film festival, BIFF-2017

Currently working on a series short films on climate change and mitigation as perceived by the indigenous communities.
a project on the nomadic communities across India which has remained a work in progress since 2004.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

I have known the Hakki Pikki nomadic community and their settlement on the fringes of the Bannerghatta national park through an activist friend Madhu Bhushan who has been associated with them since the last three decades. In the late 80’s I remember visiting the settlement with another friend and staying back in the colony for two days.

In 2008 Madhu approached me with an idea to document some stories narrated by the community elders, on their transition from their wanderings to the enforced settlement in the colony. The oral histories of their experiences acquired great significance particularly in the context of their struggle to retain the lands that were granted to them by the Govt in 1962.

Even after more than fifty years, none of them had received the title deeds for the land!

Meanwhile the adjacent area was declared a national park further restricting their movements. The city grew rapidly to engulf the spaces around the national park. The local land mafia started gunning for their lands and many feuds erupted in the colony as some outsiders managed to break in and settle there .

A well known industrialist too had attempted to negotiate with the community and acquire their lands. In July 2008 I spent three days in the colony and filmed the elders including Madamma from the Iruliga tribe who were among the first settlers in the colony. I moved away to complete my work with the other Nomadic communities from central and north west India.

I was a very reluctant starter to this project because I felt the Hakki Pikki’s were too loud, verbose and challenging for me to film! In 2014 I felt like revisiting them and asked Madhu if she still had those tapes, luckily she did !

We edited the material into a 20 minutes film that interested many friends who came on board to support us for a larger film traversing many such colonies across Karnataka. Joined by the Hakki Pikkis from Bannerghatta we journeyed across the state filming their stories of survival with great wit and humour.

It was quite amazing for me to discover some unique skills they possess and most importantly I made friends with a community that I stayed away from for so many years, we worked together and completed a film!