Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin has on Tuesday conferred a cash prize of Rs 1 crore to Kartiki Gonsalves, the director of the documentary 'The Elephant Whisperers' that won the Oscar Award at the 95th Academy Awards that held recently in the United States. 38-year-old Gonsalves was born in Ooty, The Nilgiris district in Tamil Nadu and her documentary was also based on a story of two mahouts at Mudumalai Elephant camp in the state.
As the story and the stars are directly connected to Tamil Nadu, the Oscar award for the documentary is being relished as a huge honour for the state. The documentary team has been over the moon with pouring felicitations. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin had already congratulated the team when the documentary had won the Oscars. He also had met and felicitated the two mahouts Bomman and Bellie and offered them financial assistance.
Now, for the first time, the Chief Minister has conferred a honour to Kartiki Gonsalves. It was her directorial debut and on Tuesday - March 21, Gonsalves met Stalin at the Chief Secretariat, Chennai. The event had the presence of Tamil Nadu Forest Minister Mathiventhan, Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary Irai Anbu, and other officials. During the event, MK Stalin had provided a cash prize of Rs 1 crore and a certificate to Gonsalves.
The Oscar-award winning director has shown her Oscar award to the Chief Minister amidst a joyful ambiance. After receiving the cash prize from the Chief Minister, Gonsalves said it was a proud moment to bring back the Oscar to the home state, Tamil Nadu. "It's a great honour. It is for the women, for conservation, for indigenous communities and for the protection of our wild species", she added.
Supriya Sahu, the government's secretary for environment said that it was a great honour and a proud moment for Tamil Nadu. The documentary runs for nearly 40 minutes and is streaming on Netflix. The Elephant Whisperers has become the first Indian documentary to win an Oscar and the award was accepted by the documentary's director Kartiki Gonsalves and producer Guneet Monga.
The documentary exhibits the bond between tribal people and elephants in The Nilgiris and when Gonsalves learned that the Chief Minister had felicitated the two mahouts shown in the documentary - Bomman and Bellie, she said, "Overjoyed and so proud to see Bomman & Bellie honoured by our honourable Chief Minister MK Stalin after 'The Elephant Whisperers' won the first academy award for India for an independent film at the 95th Academy Awards."
#WATCH | Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin felicitates Oscar-winner The Elephant Whisperer's director, Kartiki Gonsalves, in Chennai pic.twitter.com/mNhmiixEbx— ANI (@ANI) March 21, 2023