The Elephant Whisperers Couple
“The Elephant Whisperers” couple – Bomman and Bellie, who featured in the movie have claimed that Kartiki Gonsalves, the director of the film, took money from them to shoot scenes for the movie and has not yet refunded them. This accusation comes months after “The Elephant Whisperers” won the Oscar for Best Documentary Short Film at the 95th Academy Awards.
The Elephant Whisperers Couple explained that director is lying
In a recent interview on a YouTube channel in Chennai, the Elephant Whisperers Couple said, “The director gave us no money for featuring. She said she didn’t have money to shoot the marriage scene. So, we withdrew money from our granddaughter’s account and spent it on the scene. The director has not returned the money yet. Her claims that she returned the money and bought a car and a land plot for us are all lies.”
“We didn’t get anything for the movie,” claims Bellie
Bellie alleged that she lost peace of mind after the film’s shoot. “During the shooting, we did everything the director told us to do; from telling stories to my granddaughter making tea, washing clothes and bathing Kumki elephants. The director had not even bought tea for us. All we received due to the movie was the Rs 1 lakh that Chief Minister MK Stalin offered us,” she said.
Kartiki Gonsalves declined to respond to questions about the accusations. The documentary’s financier, Sikhya Entertainment, issued a statement on behalf of both the company and the director on Saturday night. They denied the accusations and insisted that Bellie and Bomman had received fair compensation in accordance with their contract.
“Winning an Oscar does not translate into accolades in terms of money and it is a recognition of filmmaking excellence. The goal of creating ‘The Elephant Whisperers’ has always been to highlight elephant conservation and the tremendous efforts of the forest department and its mahouts Bomman and Bellie. Since its release, the documentary has raised awareness of the cause and had a real impact on the mahouts’ and cavadis’ community,” the statement read.