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The Elephant Whisperers Review

The Elephant Whisperers is a documentary film made by Kartiki Gonsalves on her directorial debut in 2022. The film is about the relationship that forms between a couple and Raghu, an orphaned young elephant entrusted to their care.

The film, produced by Sikhya Entertainment, had its international premiere on November 9, 2022, at the Doc NYC Film Festival, a documentary film festival in the United States. Netflix made the film available for viewing worldwide on December 8, 2022.

It was the first Indian film to win an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Film at the 95th Academy Awards, making it the first Indian film to do so.

The Elephant Whisperers Review

About The Director

Kartiki Gonsalves (born November 2, 1986) is an Indian documentary director and photographer who directed The Elephant Whisperers, which won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Film at the 95th Academy Awards. She is a renowned Sony Artisan of Imagery India who focuses in landscape and wildlife photography.

About Production

To film this documentary, Kartiki Gonsalves spent five years following a human-elephant hybrid family from the Kattunayakan tribe. "I met Raghu when he was exactly three months old," she explained, adding, "I spent about a year and a half with him when he was a tiny baby before this became a documentary." Her crew shot other residents of the area; including leopards, tigers, and monkeys, while making the documentary.

Story of The Movie

The film's narrative takes place in the Theppakadu Elephant Camp near the Maiar River, across the Nilgiri Mountains, where Bomman and Bailey dwell. The forest government places Raghu, an orphaned elephant, in the care of Bomman and Bailey. Bomman and Bailey are members of the Kattunayakan tribe, who have been living in the jungles for centuries.

The mind gets peaceful when it sees Raghu, Bomman, and Ammu's mischief, closeness, and genuine love. One comes to realize how lovely the world could be. Since Bailey's husband was slain by a tiger in the jungle and she also lost her kid, their friendship has been strained. Raghu and Beli, who have both lost close ones, share the same pain.

They console each other by speaking and stroking, and their relationship is both beautiful and enticing. Karthik has brilliantly demonstrated how sensitive, intellectual, and selflessly loving creatures' elephants are in this brief.

The most notable feature of this film is that, instead of a narrator, Bomman and Bailey narrate their own tale, and as a result, the viewer feels more connected with them, resulting in no unnatural or weirdness in a film.

Review of The Movie

The love between two orphaned elephants and their keepers in a government-run elephant camp is beautifully documented in this charming documentary.

The cinematography is very outstanding, with gorgeous pictures of the elephants and their carers Bomman and Bellie, as well as the people surrounding them, as well as magnificent overhead scenes.

Their plot flows quite nicely as well, with Bomman and Bellie narrating, making it even more genuine and natural. Even though they were colonized, indigenous traditions like as music and dance were displayed, proving that everything is not lost. They also continue to live in the middle of nature and the forest to some extent.

Overall the movie gives a great message about coexisting with nature, harmony, and the special relationship that people must have.

Central Idea of The Movie

The tribal couples who raise two elephant orphans create a sense of trust, love, and belonging. Coming from the shame of widow remarriage, the film believes on displaying rather than discussing the tribal community's communal rituals and animist religious beliefs.

The celebratory mood during Bomman and Bailey's wedding in the forest puts smiles on everyone's faces as ladies sing folk songs around a bonfire and men adorn elephants.

Another important lesson emerges, if we wish to maintain the woods and the creatures that live in them, we must also embrace the sensitivity of the people who live in the forests. In the path of civilization and growth, one must consider cherishing the environment. The beautiful meet up of human and animal. The film's the core is "love and trust," and our entire universe is still built on it.


The Elephant Whispers has stunning cinematography. The forest, mountains, and wildlife are shown so well in the film that you are mesmerized while watching it, and the film engages with the viewer from the first moment.

The scenes of this Tamil language film are extremely beautiful mornings of foggy mountains, restless evenings in the forests, sun-kissed rivers, and the selfless love and compassion between elephants and people in this gorgeous setting.

Without understanding the language, you can often comprehend Bomman and Raghu's talks and quickly relate to their unusual bond. One of the primary reasons for this is because Karthik has long been linked with the Discovery and Animal Planet channels as a camera crew. He has a thorough awareness of the forest and the creatures that inhabit there.

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