Making India proud, the Indian documentary The Elephant Whisperers won the Oscars for Best Documentary Short at the 95th Academy Awards. The documentary is the directorial debut of Kartiki Gonsalves and is produced by Guneet Monga.

The two terrific women gave us our first-ever Oscar for an Indian Production, and we couldn’t be any prouder. Here’s everything you need to know about The Elephant Whisperers.

Also Read | Here’s Everything About The Women Behind ‘The Elephant Whisperers’: Guneet Monga & Kartiki Gonsalves

The Elephant Whisperers is an emotionally enriching and ‘jumbo sized’ tale which succeeds in being an example of unconditional love,” Guneet has once written in her Instagram post, and I believe that’s the best way to describe the short documentary.

About The Elephant Whisperers

The Elephant Whisperers is an Indian Tamil short documentary film. It was released on 8th December 2022 and is 39 minutes long. Kartiki Gonsalves spent five years following the human-elephant blended family belonging to the Kattunayakan tribe to make this short documentary that won the 2023 Oscars for Best Documentary Short at the 95th Academy Awards. It is available on Netflix in Tamil, Telugu, Hindi and English.

“I met Raghu (the baby elephant) when he was exactly three months old. I spent about a year and a half with him when he was a tiny baby before this became a documentary.”

Kartiki Gonsalves


The plot of The Elephant Whisperers revolves around Bomman and Bellie who are entrusted with taking care of two orphan baby elephants, Raghu and Ammu, in Tamil Nadu’s Mudumalai Tiger Reserve. It tells the tale of the bond the abandoned elephants share with their caretakers and the unconditional love they hold for each other.

Watching it, you’ll realize how similar it is with the bond of a parent with their child, the tussle siblings have with each other and how they stand tall together, come what may.

“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.”

Guneet Monga


The credit for the beautiful cinematography of The Elephant Whisperers goes to Karan Thapliyal, Krish Makhija, Anand Bansal and Kartiki Gonsalves. It shows the lush greenery of the Mudumalai National Park in the beautiful state of Tamil Nadu, highlighting the natural beauty of the location. The breathtaking cinematography makes you feel as if you are there simultaneously giving you the urge to be there. You’ll understand it when you watch it, trust me.

Cast & Crew

The Elephant Whisperers is the directorial debut of Kartiki Gonsalves and is produced by Guneet Monga, and features an indigenous couple, Bomman and Bellie. The story is written by Priscilla Gonsalves and the cinematography is by Karan Thapliyal, Krish Makhija, Anand Bansal, and Kartiki Gonsalves. The music is given by Sven Faulconer.

ShortThe Elephant Whisperers
Story WriterPriscilla Gonsalves
DirectorKartiki Gonsalves
ProducersGuneet Monga, Achin Jain, Douglas Blush, Kartiki Gonsalves
CinematographersKaran Thapliyal, Krish Makhija, Anand Bansal, Kartiki Gonsalves
EditorsSanchari Das Mollick, Douglas Blush
MusicSven Faulconer


The Elephant Whisperers has a rating of 7.3 on IMDb, with 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. 97% of Google users liked this Oscar-winning short documentary.

Best Moments From The Documentary

It’s the little nuances that make you fall in love with the documentary even more. How Bomman and Bellie take care of Raghu and then Ammu, how it helps Bellie to get over her fear of the wild, how they respect and worship the forest, and how they decorate the elephants for the festivals goes on to show how deeply the roots of the culture go.

the elephant whisperers oscars
the elephant whisperers oscars

Bomman calling Raghu his child, Raghu’s tantrums to eat, them feeding the elephants with their hands and Raghu’s initial tussle and the tint of jealousy when Baby Ammu joins the family along with the eventual unbreakable bond they develop with each other make it a beautiful tale of a family. Also, Bomman asking Raghu to come under the umbrella while it rains is absolutely adorable and goes on to show the love he holds for him.

The Elephant Whisperers Oscars Win

It was a surreal moment when The Elephant Whisperers won the Oscars. Guneet Monga shared a video of the entire team and their reaction when they got to know about the nomination. You can feel the excitement of the team through the video.

A month and a half after the nomination, the docu-short brought home the Oscars. Guneet Monga’s, “To all the women watching this – the future is audacious and the future is us and the future is here,” speech has definitely ignited the hearts of many and will be the inspiration behind many more upcoming women in the industry.

You’ll have a constant smile on your face and warmth in your heart when you’ll watch The Elephant Whisperers. So, if you haven’t yet, I highly urge you to do so.

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