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, Ms. 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. 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.
Ms. 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.
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”.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.