The Tamil language short film “The Elephant Whisperers” was created after meticulously editing 450 hours of video into 40 minutes. It made history at the 95th Academy Awards by being the first Indian film created by an Indian production to win an Academy Award in the “Documentary Short Film” category. It was directed by documentary filmmaker Kartiki Gonsalves and produced by Guneet Monga. An elderly caretaking couple in south India named Bomman and Bellie nurture orphaned elephants like Raghu and Ammu like their own children in the heartwarming documentary.
After their return from the US on Thursday, the Oscar-winning trio had their first news conference in Mumbai. The group of creative people received a loud ovation as they entered the stage, but particular praise was reserved for the documentary’s actual heroes, Bomman and Bellie, an on- and off-screen elephant caregiver pair known as “elephant whisperers.” The humble couple from Tamil Nadu didn’t forget their elephant kids even though they were showered with acclaim, rather perplexed by the overnight media frenzy.
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I am a Kattunayakan, Bomman said at the occasion while speaking in Tamil. I look out for the forest. I’m so proud that the world has now heard about my babies lives. I want to express my gratitude to Kartiki madam for telling the world about myself and my children. Beyond the award, it is really significant to me because it makes me proud to be a father. “I was hesitant to raise Raghu sooner because I knew that Raghu will one day have to go in the wild, the place where he belongs,” his wife Belli continued. It hurts to take any kid away from their mother. Yet, I was compelled to stay with Raghu when I learned that his mother had gone suddenly. How could you refuse such a lovely baby? Bomman could feel a bit shy, she said with a smile. But, because I have lived in a jungle, I am unafraid. You would think that winning the Oscar is a major prize, but for me, the best part of it was getting to come and meet all of you lovely individuals. Being able to visit a major city and mingle with people is amazing.
“This is the true celebration,” Guneet said. returning home. That Oscar moment was weird, and humbling but the reeling-in is happening now. Everyone here is joyful, and I can see it in their eyes. Wildlife photography fanatic since she was 15, Kartiki said that before producing the Oscar-winning documentary short, she worked as a salesgirl at Fabindia, as a gym assistant, and in an advertising job.
Together with Guneet, the panel included Kartiki, the Sikhya Entertainment team, Guneet’s producing partner Achin Jain, and Netflix India’s Vice President of Content Monika Shergill.