‘The Elephant Whisperers’ Couple Makes Serious Allegations Of Cheating Against The Filmmakers!

Written by Famitha mohamed Published on Aug 07, 2023 | 19:06 PM IST | 392

ELEPHANT WHISPER

‘The Elephant Whisperers’ The captivating documentary achieved international acclaim and even secured an Oscar, shedding light on the fascinating bond between humans and elephants. Yet, behind the scenes of this heartwarming narrative lies a distressing story of alleged exploitation and mistreatment. Tribal couple Bomman and Bellie, whose remarkable performances were central to the film’s success, have now come forward with serious accusations against director Kartiki Gonsalves and Sikhya Entertainment, the production company responsible for the documentary’s creation.

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In a revealing and candid interview aired on a prominent YouTube Channel on August 4, Bomman and Bellie recounted their experiences working closely with Kartiki Gonsalves and how their relationship with her underwent a significant transformation after the documentary’s meteoric rise to fame. During the filming of ‘The Elephant Whisperers,’ the couple enjoyed a warm and amiable rapport with Gonsalves. However, they assert that her attitude towards them took a sharp turn once the documentary began to garner international recognition.

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The controversy erupted when Bomman and Bellie disclosed the financial hardships they endured while participating in a pivotal wedding scene for the film. Despite their willingness to contribute to the scene, they revealed that they had to dip into their savings, which were earmarked for Bellie’s granddaughter’s education, in order to cover expenses amounting to a staggering Rs 1 lakh. Gonsalves assured them that the money would be reimbursed, but to this day, the couple claims they have not received the promised repayment. Their attempts to reach out to Gonsalves for clarification reportedly went unanswered, leaving them feeling frustrated and neglected.

The alleged mistreatment didn’t stop there. Bomman and Bellie expressed deep disappointment over their treatment during the felicitation ceremony following ‘The Elephant Whisperers’ Oscar win. Despite their integral role in the documentary’s success and the celebration of their tribal identity, they revealed that they were inexplicably prohibited from touching or holding the prestigious Oscar statuette during the ceremony. This exclusion left them feeling disheartened and shattered the sense of inclusion and belonging that had once defined their relationship with the filmmaker and the production team.

Their struggles persisted even after the documentary’s acclaim. The couple recounted a distressing incident in which they found themselves lacking the necessary funds for their journey back home to the Nilgiris after returning from Mumbai. Seeking assistance from Gonsalves, they claimed that their plea for financial aid was met with indifference and a lack of immediate action. Moreover, the remuneration they were promised for their impactful performances turned out to be a mere Rs 60, a paltry sum that Gonsalves dismissed as already spent by the couple.

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In response to these grave allegations, Sikhya Entertainment issued a statement aiming to defend the noble intention behind creating ‘The Elephant Whisperers.’ They emphasized that the primary purpose of the documentary was to raise awareness about the critical issue of elephant conservation and to pay tribute to the commendable efforts of the Forest Department and the mahouts, including Bomman and Bellie. However, the statement conspicuously sidestepped addressing the specific allegations raised by the tribal couple. The matter of remuneration and contractual obligations was notably absent from the response, leaving the accusations unaddressed and the situation unresolved.

The troubling allegations brought forth by Bomman and Bellie cast a shadow over the acclaimed documentary and its creators. Their tale serves as a reminder that even amidst celebratory success and international recognition, the individuals at the heart of a project can often find themselves marginalized and mistreated. The need for transparent and ethical treatment of all participants in the filmmaking process, particularly those whose stories are being told, is a vital aspect of ensuring the integrity and authenticity of the final product.

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source: free press journal

As the controversy continues to unfold, it raises important questions about the responsibilities of filmmakers and production companies towards the individuals whose lives and stories they showcase on the global stage. The allegations against Kartiki Gonsalves and Sikhya Entertainment underscore the importance of addressing such issues head-on and taking meaningful steps to rectify any perceived wrongs, ultimately contributing to a more equitable and respectful film industry.

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