‘The Elephant Whisperers’ triumphs at Oscars 2023, director dedicates award to ‘motherland India’

08:17 AM Mar 13, 2023 | PTI |

Los Angeles:  Tamil documentary “The Elephant Whisperers” created history at the 95th Academy Awards by becoming the maiden Indian production to win in the Documentary Short Subject category.


Directed by debutante Kartiki Gonsalves, the Netflix documentary bested “Haulout”, “How Do You Measure a Year?”, “The Martha Mitchell Effect” and “Stranger at the Gate” to scoop the trophy.

“I stand here today to speak for the sacred bond between us and our natural world, for the respect of indigenous communities, and empathy towards other living beings we share space with and finally, for coexistence,” Gonsalves said in her acceptance speech.

The director went on to thank the Academy, producer Guneet Monga, her family and dedicated the win to her “motherland India”.

“Thank you to the Academy for recognising our film, highlighting indigenous people and animals.. To Netflix for believing in the power of this… To Bomman and Belli for sharing their sacred tribal wisdom to Guneet, my producer…


“My mentor and my entire team and finally, to my mother, father and sister who are up there somewhere and you are the centre of my universe, to my motherland India,” she added.

“The Elephant Whisperers”, in its 39-minute runtime, depicts an unbreakable bond between two abandoned elephant calves Raghu and Amu and their caretakers, Bomman and Belli. It is produced by Monga and Achin Jain of Sikhya Entertainment.

Monga didn’t say anything on stage but struck an exultant pose lifting the coveted golden statuette high up in the air.
Moments later in an Instagram post, she described the Tamil documentary’s win as a moment of glory for India with “two women”.

“Tonight is historic as this is the first ever Oscar for an Indian production. India’s Glory with 2 women. Thank you Mom Dad Guruji Shukrana. To my Co-Producer Achin Jain, Team Sikhya, Netflix, Aloke, Sarafina, WME Bash Sanjana.

“My lovely Husband Sunny. Happy 3 months anniversary baby! Kartiki for bringing & weaving this story. To all the women watching…. The future is audacious and the future is here. Let’s go! Jai hind,” Monga wrote in her post.

Earlier, two India-set titles backed by foreign productions – “Smile Pinki” and “Period. End Of Sentence”, won Oscars in the Documentary Short category. Monga was the executive producer on 2018’s “Period”.


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