Image: Guneet Monga/Twitter
Guneet Monga, the producer of the Oscar-nominated documentary The Elephant Whisperers, feels the film's Academy nomination is a surreal moment. Monga, in an exclusive interview with Republic Media Network, spoke about her first Oscar nomination and said she is over the moon.
"It feels surreal, to say the least. I think every filmmaker dreams to be at the Oscars, and, yes, I've been there a couple of times, but this is the first time I'm nominated and my films have traveled. But to be a nominee is also a whole process. This is the first time I'm nominated, so I'm very excited and over the moon and very grateful."
Monga also spoke about Bomman and Bellie's (the lead cast of the documentary short) reaction to the Oscar nomination and said "they are humbled." She said, "They have been told and Kartiki (Gonsalves) has been in touch with them. They are excited and are very humbled." She added, "I don't think they fully understand what this means. But, yes, there are a lot of people coming to the reserve to meet them. There is a lot of excitement around. So they, of course, are getting to know that this is something really important."
In the freewheeling chat, Monga said that she believes that the Oscar nod for her film is a sign that documentaries from India are rising and being appreciated globally. The producer also expressed excitement about the boost that her film is receiving since its Oscar nomination. She said, "I'm super grateful for the shortlist. And to be in the top five in the world."
The producer mentioned that she has watched the other Indian Oscar nominees - RRR (which is nominated for Naatu Naatu under Original Song) as well as All That Breathes (nominated under Documentary Feature Film) and called them amazing.
Monga said, "Both of them are really strong and I've even watched the Chhello Show, which sadly did not make it to the nomination." "But yeah, I think Natu Natu is amazing and RRR has done an incredible campaign there (the US). Especially with Naatu Naatu's Golden Globe win and All That Breathes' BAFTA nomination, both the films in their respective categories are very strong," she added.
The Elephant Whisperers is directed by Kartiki Gonsalves. The film bagged an Oscar nomination in the Best Documentary Short Film Category on January 24. The film's story revolves around a Tamil Nadu couple - Bomman and Bellie, who are elephant caretakers and their bond with the wild animal.
The Elephant Whisperers, originally shot in Tamil, is produced by Achin Jain and Guneet Monga.