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Kartiki Gonsalves is ‘thrilled’ with The Elephant Whisperers’ Oscar nomination

Currently streaming on Netflix, the makers of The Elephant Whisperers are hopeful that the film will help reiterate the need for human-wildlife coexistence

Kartiki Gonsalves is ‘thrilled’ with The Elephant Whisperers’ Oscar nomination
A scene from Kartiki Gonsalves' Oscar-nominated documentary 'The Elephant Whisperers'
  • Reema GowallaTeam OTTplay

Last Updated: 02.55 PM, Jan 25, 2023

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A spectacular film that sincerely tries to drive home the message that the only way to conserve nature and protect wildlife is via respect and cooperation, The Elephant Whisperers has made it to the 95th Academy Awards nominations. Currently streaming on Netflix, the 41-minute film is directed by Kartiki Gonsalves. “It’s such an honour to have an Indian Indigenous documentary from the heart of South India acknowledged across the world,” she says.

Nominated under the ‘Documentary Short Film’ category at Oscars 2023, the film traces the journey of Bomman and Bellie, a village couple who belong to Tamil Nadu’s Kattunayakan community. They have devoted their lives to caring for an orphaned baby elephant named Raghu. Their story reiterates the fact that human-wildlife coexistence is better than conflict.

Expressing her gratitude for the nomination, Kartiki said, “Thank you, members of the Academy for nominating The Elephant Whisperers. I am also very thankful to the wonderful team at Netflix for believing in the power of this truly unique family story which showcases the lovely sacred bond between man and animal.”

Adding to that, the 36-year-old filmmaker said, “It’s a hopeful story of respect for and cooperation with nature in an era rife with conflict and denial of the threats to our beautiful planet. We hope this film helps create more awareness, empathy and connection to elephants and other living beings that we share our spaces with. It took five years to make my debut documentary The Elephant Whisperers, a long personal journey from the place I call home, that wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the Kattunayakan community, who opened their hearts and trusted us with their unique experiences and a pathway ahead. On behalf of Bomman, Bellie and our beautiful elephant friends Raghu and Ammu, we are thrilled to receive this great honour!”

The film is a heartwarming story of an indigenous couple who have been given an orphaned elephant, named Raghu, to look after. The story follows the couple’s journey as they relentlessly work to ensure Raghu’s recovery and survival. The documentary beautifully weaves the tale of how the couple falls in love with the majestic creature along the course of time. Set against the background of life in the wild spaces of South India, The Elephant Whisperers highlights the beauty of exotic wildlife, unforgettable wild spaces,the people and animals who share this space. The documentary is produced by Guneet Monga and Achin Jain under the banner of Sikhya Entertainment.