India created history at the 95th edition of the Academy Awards as The Elephant Whisperers clinched the Oscar for the Best Documentary Short Film. The film’s producer Guneet Monga has reacted to her film’s big win. The film also marks Kartiki Gonsalves’ directorial debut.
Lauding the film’s director, Guneet said: “This is an incredibly powerful and historical moment. We, as two women from India, stood on that global stage making this historical win. I’m so proud of this film, this moment and proud of my amazing team at Sikhya Entertainment, that an independent production house from India has made history to be the first ever Indian film by an Indian production to win an Oscar. My heart is racing with all the joy, love, excitement in the moment. I’m so grateful to Kartiki, the wonderful visionary that she is.”
As the short documentary The Elephant Whisperers brought home an Oscar, its director Kartiki Gonsalves credited her “motherland India” for the win.
The Elephant Whisperers was competing in the category alongside Haulout, How Do You Measure a Year?, The Martha Mitchell Effect and Stranger at the Gate.After being presented the honour, Kartiki, who was accompanied with producer Guneet Monga, said: “I stand here to speak today about the sacred bond between us and the natural world for the respect of indigenous communities and empathy towards other living beings we share our space with and finally for coexistence. Thank you to the academy for recognising our film, highlighting indigenous people and animals.” She concluded by saying: “To my motherland India.”
Guneet further mentioned that the future belongs to the female members of the society: “Netflix gave us the biggest stage in the world and supported us and believed in us all the way. Today I can say, the future for Indian cinema is audacious, the future is here and not to forget the future is truly female.”
The plot of the documentary revolves around a family who adopts two orphaned baby elephants in Tamil Nadu’s Mudumalai Tiger Reserve. The Elephant Whisperers is an emotionally enriching and ‘jumbo sized’ tale which succeeds in being an example of unconditional love,” Guneet wrote in an Instagram post.
In Kartiki Gonsalves’ documentary short The Elephant Whisperers, Bomman bathes Raghu while he bathes in the same pond. Bellie feeds Raghu with her hands much like she’d feed her own child. It was their unity, and perseverance, that healed Raghu. And in that, they became a family.
For Guneet Monga, though, it has earned a special place in her heart, for she has come home with it twice. Monga’s first Oscar was for the documentary short film, Iranian American filmmaker Rayka Zehtabch’s Period: End of Sentence, which follows a group of local women at Kathikera village in Hapur, Uttar Pradesh, as they learn how to operate a machine that makes low-cost, biodegradable sanitary pads, which they sell to other women at affordable prices.