Oscars 2023: Making of The Elephant Whisperers was a beautiful journey, says caretaker Bomman
"Although I am unaware of these awards and honours, I understand it is a big thing and I am happy about this victory," he says
The Indian documentary, The Elephant Whisperers, won the Oscar Award under the Best Documentary short category. While the whole nation is revelling in the glory, we at Cinema Express reach out to one of the elephant caretakers, Bomman, featured in the documentary.
Far from the interior forest near Hogenakkal, Bomman joins us over a telephone conversation. Asked if he knew about the big win, he says, "Today morning, when I moved to a place where there was network connectivity, my phone started bustling. And it has not stopped since then. Only with these back-to-back calls and messages, I understood that our documentary is being spoken about across the world. And that it has won the biggest award."
Bomman also recalls how the documentary was shot over five years before the Covid-19 imposed lockdown. "They captured our day-to-day affairs and the time we spent taking care of Raghu and Ammu. It was a very casual and beautiful journey. Although I am unaware of these awards and honours, I understand it is a big thing and I am happy about this victory. I have not spoken to the makers yet. But when they return, I wish to offer them something as a token of love for their big win. My wife's joy knows no bounds. The elephant calves are hail and healthy in the Mudumalai tiger reserve."
The Elephant Whisperers is set Theppakadu Elephant Camp of the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve in India’s Tamil Nadu and traces the lives of two elephant caretakers Bomman and Bellie, who belong to the tribe of the land. The heartening documentary shows the tender relationship between the caretakers and jumbos, Ammu and Raghu, who are taken under their wings. The film is directed by Kartiki Gonsalves and produced by Guneet Monga.