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  5. EXCLUSIVE: The Elephant Whisperers' makers Kartiki Gonsalves & Guneet Monga reflect on Oscars

EXCLUSIVE: The Elephant Whisperers' makers Kartiki Gonsalves & Guneet Monga reflect on Oscars

Director Kartiki Gonsalves worked on the short documentary The Elephant Whisperers for five years. Now that it has been awarded Oscars 2023 for Best Documentary Short Film, the director shares her journey of making the film.

Reported By : Joyeeta Mitra Suvarna Written By : India TV Entertainment Desk | New Delhi
Updated on: March 13, 2023 9:43 IST
The Elephant Whisperers' makers reflect on Oscars nomination
Image Source : INSTAGRAM/GUNEETMONGA The Elephant Whisperers' makers reflect on Oscars nomination

Indian documentary 'The Elephant Whisperers' made India proud on the international platform as won the Oscars 2023 award for Best Documentary Short Film. The film presents the story of an indigenous couple and their bond with an orphaned elephant, Raghu, and how they dedicatedly work to ensure the elephant's recovery and survival and eventually develop affection and love for the majestic creature. The film is directed by a newcomer Kartiki Gonsalves and is produced by Guneet Monga and Achin Jain under the banner of Sikhya Entertainment.

This is Guneet Monga's yet another successful collaboration with Netflix and the documentary has been touching hearts with its global representation. Talking about the same, producer Guneet Monga told India TV, "This is a beautiful feeling. This is every filmmaker's dream to reach the Oscars, even the nominations help the film get noticed and people watch it globally. We have tried our best along with Netflix to show an important story. Now we wish we win the award for India."

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, and the people and animals who share this space. Debutant director Kartiki Gonsalves also hails from South India and has witnessed firsthand the relationship of the baby elephant Raghu with an indigenous couple.

Kartiki worked on the documentary for five long years before she directed it. Talking about the journey, she said, "At first, I fell in love with Raghu. I have witnessed the impact of the land deterioration on the elephants since I live so close to where this happened. It was really depressing and it was happening so frequently. This really touched me at a whole different level and I really wanted people to understand these beautiful beings at a deeper level and recognize that elephants have so many similar traits and exhibit extreme amounts of intelligence. I hope to get people to want to protect them and also protect their landscape. Beyond just the elephants, I just wanted to show the importance of the indigenous people and the knowledge that they have and most importantly to give these people a voice. This is the core of The Elephant Whisperers."

Guneet Monga added, "It is a deeply spiritual film. The connection that Boman and Belly have with Raghu is like a bond with a human child, it is very beautiful and surreal."

Terming it a positive story that needed to reach the people, Kartiki elaborated that The Elephant Whisperers is the way to move forward. She said, "Lately there have been many stories of animals dying so this is a very positive story that highlights that man and animal can work together. I believe that coexistence is the way we move forward into the future. The story of The Elephant Whisperers is just one step in that direction."

The Elephant Whisperers Trailer

The Elephant Whisperers released on OTT platform Netflix on December 8, 2022. The short documentary was screened last week at the U.S.' largest and prestigious documentary festival - DOC NYC 2022 Film Festival on November 10.

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