Planting the seeds of change

Deccan Chronicle.  | Pooja Prabbhan

Entertainment, Sandalwood

Sandalwood actress Samyukta Hornad talks about her new found passion for conservation.

Samyukta Hornad.

It didn’t take long for Sandalwood actress Samyukta Hornad to suss out that she’s a conservationist by nature. The intrepid traveller took a volley of netizens by surprise when she recently posted about her involvement in a rather refreshing initiative: Plant Trees in collaboration with Team Way For Life. In a chat with Bengaluru Chronicle, she reveals the root of her thought process.

If you go through her Instagram feed, you’ll realise that, while she’s doodling, holding art exhibitions or shooting regularly, Samyukta Hornad has always made time for animals, and birds. And recently, the actor-artist-activist has scaled up her love for nature by getting down and dirty with a noble campaign that puts action at the forefront. One that promises to revive the 10,000 acres of the Bandipur Forest that was burnt by making one lakh seed balls and planting them in spaces decided by the Karnataka Forest Department.

“I did this (the Plant Trees initiative) in collaboration with Way For Life, an organisation that does a lot of work towards wildlife, forests and the environment in general. Over three locations - Basavangudi, Jayanagar and JP Nagar -  we just invited people to come over and help with making seed balls,” she explains.

Samyukta plans to continue this work even further. “I’m doing this next week by myself too. I’ll be in touch with the Bandipur forest officials, who will keep me informed about what’s required. From the type of seeds to where they’re going to go will be decided by them and I will request people to donate more seed balls accordingly,” she says. Samyukta explains why there is such a need to do this right now: “The land was burned, and there was no point putting these seed balls three months ago. There was no rain then. But this is the right time - up until August. That’s why we’re getting as many people to donate as is possible.”

Stoked by the overwhelming response the campaign has received, she says, “We got such a great response. People kept pointing out other spaces that were facing similar issues. The plan is also to also send these to Kodagu and everywhere where there is an issue. I’m looking at a space where I can pursue my painting and also get people to donate seed balls.”

Even as she devotes her time and energy to this cause, Samyukta is busy with a couple of interesting projects up her sleeve. “Right now, I’m shooting for a film in Hyderabad. I’m also doing a web-series in Telugu. After that, I have a film in Tamil. In Kannada, we’ve just had the premiere screening of Arishadvarga in London and I’m really looking forward to its release,” she lists.

But before that, it’s a much-awaited trip to Spain for her. And making more seed balls!