Everything you need to know about the Oscar winning Documentary Short Film: ‘The Elephant Whisperers’

Given its recent victories at the Critics’ Choice Awards Show, the Golden Globe Awards, and the Academy Awards for Best Original Song, RRR appears to have captured the attention of the country. However, another Indian film deserves just as much attention—if not more—for its important achievements in the film industry. As you may already be aware, this week’s Oscars saw The Elephant Whisperers, a short documentary film directed by Kartiki Gonsalves, win the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Film. This Oscar was significant for us Indians, but we believe that not many Indians are applauding the win of the captivating documentary The Elephant Whisperers. So let’s look at everything you should know about this Tamil short documentary film ‘The Elephant Whisperers’ that won an Oscar in this post.

About the Director:

The documentary’s director is a Mumbai-based photographer and movie director. Her work primarily focuses on the outdoors, nature, as well as wildlife. The first-time director recently stated that her team has made significant progress since they initially started working on the film at the start of the year 2017 in an interview. Kartiki had stated in a previous interview that the documentary’s production was very authentic and that she didn’t have a particular inspiration to begin recording.

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The Plot and Why the Film Won:
*Spoilers Ahead*

Bomman and Bellie are two of the tribal people employed at the Theppakadu Elephant Group in Tamil Nadu’s Mudumalai Tiger Reserve. Their stories are chronicled in Gonsalves’ film, which is primarily in Tamil. According to the movie, the tribal people are uniquely knowledgeable about the forest and its priceless treasures. Raghu and Ammu are the two elephants that are in the spotlight among the many magnificent elephant specimens that are towering about. Both Bomman and Bellie treat them as though they were their own children even though they were both abandoned.

As we watch Raghu being cleaned, fed, and otherwise taken care of, the eyes become cloudy and the mouth uncontrollably opens into a grin. Raghu is a genuine star who can do anything, from tossing a football to throwing a fit over his feet. However, the competition is fierce. Ammu is not only young and more impressionable than Raghu, but she also has the kind of edge that makes you wish Netflix had an option that lets you reach into the display and fluff Ammu’s hair. It’s equally difficult to forget the two people. Bomman and Bellie represent the sort of unassuming subjects who lend authenticity to scripted documentary films like this one. Their tears are genuine, just as their smiles are transparent.

Animals are no different from people in finding it difficult to cope with the loss of a beloved family member. The youngest elephant in the herd, Ammu, has made Raghu his best friend, so when authorities take Raghu away, Ammu is utterly devastated. She was so affected by it that she went two days without milk. For a few days, neither Bomman nor Bellie consumed any food. You feel a lump in your throat as you watch Raghu being taken away because the two of them had to go through so much hardship and difficulty to raise him and ensure his survival. You don’t truly understand how much they have missed him until he returns.

The beautiful images by Gonsalves, Krish Makhija, Karan Thapliyal, as well as Anand Bansal perfectly depict the reserve’s allure. Although the film does not explicitly address preservation or the role of tribals in environmental protection, there is no question that this patch of the essence, with its accepting individuals and vulnerable animals, deserves to be left alone.

More about the film:

On December 8, 2022, Netflix released the movie on a global scale, allowing the audience across the entire world to watch the heartwarming tale of the pair and their cherished elephant. In addition to winning the Academy Awards, the documentary made the shortlist for the DOC NYC, a yearly documentary film festival held in New York. The movie received nominations for Best Short Documentary at the IDA Documentary Awards as well as the Hollywood Music in Media Awards for Best Score.

So consider this your sign to watch the beautiful and heartwarming documentary film ‘The Elephant Whisperers’ that is available on Netflix.

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