Meet Aamir—man behind ‘Operation Everest’ Film

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SRINAGAR:Crossing all the hurdles like a true warrior, an enthusiastic television producer Aamir Rafiq Peerzada with so much enthusiasm for broadcast journalism, hailing from Barzulla area of north Kashmir’s Bandipora district had recently bagged the prestigious Ramnath Goenka Award (2015) for On-the-spot Reporting category in New Delhi. 

An award-winning 27-year-old documentary maker, who is working with NDTV as producer-cum-reporter had video-graphed Nepal Earthquake of 7.8 magnitude in 2015. He has since hustled his way to media success. 

Sometimes the stories are heartbreaking, but beautiful too. Aamir’s documentary brought the survivors struggle alive through the visuals and the screening of its ‘Operation Everest’ Documentary. And his success based on his true passion is inspiring for those who are mad about adventure.

 

“I feel blessed and honoured to receive such supreme Ramnath Goenka Award for On Spot Reporting on Mount Everest nature’s fury. Our team had gone through lot of hardships. We had to face avalanches on Everest base camp and that did not dent our spirits. We went on and on,” said Aamir Rafiq Peerzada.

Knowing that the landscape of broadcast medium has changed to a new high in past one decade, Aamir got an opportunity to work on a documentary in April 2015, for NDTV on Everest and left without thinking what fate has left for him ahead. 

Aamir was on the ground zero to shoot for documentary ‘Operation Everest: Summiteers To Saviours’ when multiple-avalanches hit the Mount Everest Base Camp soon after the devastating quake struck. 

“I lost my father at the age of 12, being the elder among siblings I was sent to a boarding school and there on I made,” recalls Aamir.

Emerging from a small village, Aamir spent 7 years of his childhood in the boarding school, which he thinks made his life and ability to think differently and to become an independent individual above all.

He joined the journalism which became his instant focus to rely on.

“As we moved up, the temperature was dropping. The trek, the shoot, the height, it was all so challenging. I would shiver while crossing the suspension bridges. We gradually stopped taking baths, then washing our faces, and then even touching water” Aamir wrote his chilling experience in a blog.

On April 25, Aamir along with the team members had to climb with the help of ropes and crampons. Leaving the crew members behind at one stage at the Everest base camp he decided to shoot continuously before Khumbu Glacier at around 11:50 AM made the ice-breaking sound.

In the span of 24 hours, 22 were dead and 60 injured at the Everest base camp. Aamir and his crew displayed courage while facing the natural disaster to make it big in the broadcast journalism. And equally he had the keen interest in understanding that there’s always a thin line between the life and a death. And it was proven again. 

“Soon after that, the avalanche from Pumori peak had hit the base camp. There were dead bodies all around and one of my crew members received an injury. It was devastating and heartrending. But we decided to shoot as there was no option left. We were rescued after two days,” said Aamir.

According to Aamir, the higher they went, things got costlier and costlier – a mineral water bottle had a price tag of Rs. 300, and an orange Rs. 100.

 

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“Shooting the base camp and meeting people from different countries was interesting as well as challenging as the temperature would always dip to minus and the cold breeze made it really difficult to touch the metal objects we carried on the way,” he said.

In 2012, he completed 1 year diploma in broadcast journalism from Chandigarh and joined NDTV in 2013.

Working with NDTV, Aamir produced many documentaries which included a film on Siachen in which he trekked for 60 kilometers from Siachen base camp to Kumar Post and recorded everything on the way.

Another film called ‘Lighting The Himalaya’ in which he went to Zanaskar area of Ladakh (Phugtal monastery) to setup the electricity in monastery as there was no electricity before he visited the spot.

Aamir, who did his schooling from Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya Shahkote Baramulla and completed his B.Sc from Government Degree College Sopore thanked his entire Everest team for their support and hard work of days and nights to make it a successful in a do or die situation.

While it is encouraging to see more young lads going into broadcast Journalism, Aamir says the industry should not be romanticised.

The award-winning stories for the most impressive annual event in the Indian media calendar were selected in 28 categories from broadcast, online journalism and print in English, Hindi and other regional languages.


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