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'The Elephant Whisperers' documentary review:- Oscar 2023

A lush safari about coexistence between man and nature

By Abdul RazackPublished 3 months ago 4 min read
'The Elephant Whisperers' documentary review:- Oscar 2023

In the heart of the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, surrounded by the Nilgiris and just beyond the Mayar river, Bomman, Bellie, and their adopted elephant calf, Raghu, live amidst the changing seasons of the Theppakadu Elephant camp. In a short documentary by Kartiki Gonsalves, the family's tale has been nominated for the 95th Oscars in the Documentary Short Film category.

As the forest changes colors and the river replenishes, Gonsalves' documentary takes the audience on a mesmerizing visual safari. She captures the bond that develops between Raghu and his caretakers, but also highlights the perennial human-animal conflict and the importance of reuniting elephant calves with their herd.

Bomman and Bellie, belonging to the Kattunayakan tribe, protect the forest where their ancestors had worked. Although their lives revolve around the forest, it was also where Bellie's husband was killed by a tiger, creating a chasm between her and the place she grew up in. Raghu's early life followed a similar trajectory, as he was separated from his herd after his mother died from electrocution.

Despite the grim reality of raising an orphaned elephant, Gonsalves' work is effective in highlighting the care and attention required to raise these majestic creatures among humans. The documentary is narrated by Bomman and Bellie only, and seamlessly weaves in the issue of human's tampering with nature as part of their conversation with the audience.

As Raghu becomes a part of their family, they are tasked with caring for a new calf, Ammu, making them the 'first couple to successfully raise two orphaned elephants in South India'. Gonsalves' camera follows the daily routine of the family, without disrupting their personal space, creating an immersive experience for the audience.

In this way, Gonsalves' documentary offers a unique perspective on the symbiosis between nature and man, showcasing the co-existence of Bomman, Bellie, and Raghu in a space that is becoming scarcer by the day.

The documentary also highlights the importance of conservation efforts and the role of forest officials in protecting wildlife. It sheds light on the challenges faced by officials in reuniting orphaned animals with their herds and the difficult decisions they have to make to ensure the survival of the animals in their care.

Through her lens, Gonsalves captures the beauty and fragility of the ecosystem and the delicate balance that exists between humans and animals in the forest. The film reminds us that we are not separate from nature, but a part of it, and our actions have a direct impact on the environment around us.

The audience is left with a sense of wonder and appreciation for the natural world and the incredible creatures that inhabit it. The story of Bomman, Bellie, and Raghu is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the power of compassion in bridging the gap between man and beast. It is a story that will leave a lasting impression on anyone who watches it, and a call to action to protect the wild spaces and the animals that call them home.

In conclusion, Gonsalves' documentary is a moving and powerful portrayal of the bond between humans and animals and the delicate balance of nature. It provides a rare glimpse into the daily lives of Bomman, Bellie, and Raghu, and their struggle to overcome the trauma and loss they have experienced in the forest.

Moreover, the documentary sheds light on the critical issues of wildlife conservation and human-animal conflict, highlighting the need for greater efforts to protect our natural resources and the animals that depend on them.

Gonsalves' seamless storytelling, combined with stunning visuals, creates a mesmerizing experience that immerses the audience in the beauty and wonder of the forest. It is a poignant reminder that we all have a role to play in protecting our planet and the incredible creatures that call it home.

In a time when our natural world is under threat from human activity, "Bomman, Bellie and their Big Little Elephant" is a timely and inspiring reminder of the power of compassion and the importance of preserving our fragile ecosystem. It is a must-watch for anyone who cares about the future of our planet and the animals that inhabit it.


About the Creator

Abdul Razack

Writing has been my passion. Fiction, poetry, and fanfiction are my favorite forms of storytelling. Writing movie reviews is something I enjoy doing.

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