Nature inFocus festival 2023: Indian Ocean performance, wildlife film screenings and more

Nature inFocus festival 2023: Indian Ocean performance, wildlife film screenings and more

Indian Ocean band
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The folk fusion band Indian Ocean shares a connection with nature, evident through various aspects of their musical journey. Firstly, their very name evokes imagery of the majestic ocean. Their latest album, Tu Hai, features a track, ‘Jungle’. Another song, ‘Mare Wa’ from their 2000 album Kandis, was about the river Narmada. According to Amit Kilam, the band’s drummer and vocalist, nature is an “intrinsic part” of the music and the lives of the band members. 

All this makes them an excellent choice to headline the Nature inFocus festival, which is returning after a three-year pandemic-induced hiatus. Nature inFocus was founded in 2014 by Rohit Varma and Kalyan Varma to build a community for wildlife and nature lovers – photographers, filmmakers, researchers, conservationists, travellers and nature enthusiasts. This year’s festival, which spans three days and begins on July 28, seeks to foster a stronger bond with nature by showcasing a diverse range of activities such as film screenings, talks, panel discussions, photography exhibitions, entertainment, art installations, book releases, workshops and masterclasses, sustainable flea markets, and an awards ceremony. Indian Ocean will perform on July 29.

“The band is interested in wildlife. It’s like a coming together of our own ideas of how we live our lives, our different thoughts, and environment, nature, jungles, photography is such an intrinsic part of a lot of us. We have some friends who brought us and Nature inFocus together. So, it was just a thing that had to happen,” says Amit about playing in the festival. 

Folk music in India, which traditionally, has spoken about people and their relationship with nature. Ankit concurs. “When people used to stay close to jungles, their songs, stories, and art were centred around their environment. Now we see a lot of young Indian talent singing about their roots. Some of them directly take songs from their folk readings. So, it is impossible to disassociate folk music from environmental issues,” he says.

Though the band doesn’t believe in preaching, Ankit believes art has the power to connect with the people. “Music or any other art form can convey a story in a format people love. So, someone listening to the song now will carry this story about wildlife and the importance of conserving them. They will make a difference and then pass it on to their generation. That’s how art makes a lasting change in society.”

In addition to Indian Ocean’s performance, this year’s festival highlights include a panel discussion commemorating 50 years of Project Tiger, the Nature inFocus Photography Awards Exhibition, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition, and a filmmaking masterclass.

“The festival is about hope,” says Rohit Varma, a founder of Nature inFocus. “The objective has always been to reconnect people with nature and to celebrate the natural world. The event gives you the opportunity to learn about the work done by individuals and organisations from all over the country in protecting and conserving the natural world.”

The Nature inFocus festival is on from July 28 to 30. For more information about the event, visit