Even before the award for the much anticipated Natu Natu was announced, India won its first Oscar for 2023 for Netflix’s ‘The Elephant Whisperer’ by Kartiki Gonsalves and Guneet Monga in the Best Documentary Short Film category at the 95th Academy Awards.
The director thanked the Academy, producer Guneet Monga, her family and dedicated the win to her “motherland India”.
“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.
She added, “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 concluded.
The other nominees were – Haulout, How Do You Measure a Year?, The Martha Mitchell Effect, Stranger at the Gate.
Indian politicians and ministers congratulated the team on Twitter. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted, “Heartiest congratulations to @EarthSpectrum, @guneetm, and the entire team of ‘The Elephant Whisperers’ for winning the Oscar. These two women have made India proud with their heart-warming showcase of the beauty and importance of wildlife conservation.”
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman tweeted, “Great news! Congratulations Director Kartiki Gonsalves and producer Guneet Monga on #Oscar2023 for the Best Documentary “The Elephant Whisperer.” A word of special appreciation for the 2 darling elephants —Raghu and Ammu.”
I&B Minister Anurag Thakur tweeted, “A heartwarming story of love and co-existence in harmony with nature; it’s a beautiful story of Bomman, Belli & baby elephant Raghu set in Tamil Nadu. Thrilled that Elephant Whisperers has bagged the Oscar for Best Documentary Short Film at the 95th Academy Awards ! Congrats!”
Set amid pristine beauty of rural Tamil Nadu, ‘The Elephant Whisperers’ tells the story of the loving relationship that Bomman and Bellie, a couple share with an orphaned baby elephant named Raghu. They forge a family bond which transcending the barrier between the human and the animal world.