The Elephant Whisperers (2022), produced by Guneet Monga and directed by Kartiki Gonsalves, won the Best Documentary Short Film Oscar at the 95th Academy Awards. Raghu, an orphaned elephant calf, is placed in the care of mahouts Bomman and Bellie in the 41-minute documentary. According to Monga, the Oscar win brought attention to elephant conservation and made the world stand up and take notice of Indian stories, including her film, which paved the way for change. Monga also discusses how the power of Indian cinema is beginning to spread worldwide.
“When Bong Joon Ho said in his Oscar speech, ‘Once you overcome the one-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films,’ he almost manifested a doorway for more languages to make a global mark. The sentiment of all films is the same, regardless of language, so when they resonate similarly with audiences worldwide, creativity triumphs! “True stories win,” she says. “two women won it” makes this award even more meaningful to Monga. “I’m so proud and honoured that Kartiki (who made her feature film debut with the film) and I were the only two women representing India at the Oscars this year and won the first award for an Indian production,” she says. This is historically significant and a message for my fellow women.”
Monga acknowledges Shaunak Sen and adds, “I’m so proud of All That Breathes” (2022). Although the film did not win, Shaunak is one of India’s most promising filmmakers. “With three nominations, India had a glorious year at the Oscars in 2023.”