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Legal Battle over 'The Elephant Whisperers': Mahout Couple Seeks 2 Crore

Monday, August 7, 2023 • Tamil Comments
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Mahout couple Bomman and Bellie, featured in the internationally award-winning documentary "The Elephant Whisperers," sent a legal notice seeking a goodwill gesture worth ₹2 crore to filmmaker Kartiki Gonsalves. The pair allege that they were promised during the making of the film financial support and other benefits, but now feel let down as there has been no fulfilment of those promises.

Social activist-lawyer Pravin Raj, who is well acquainted with the couple, narrated how they were disappointed and that thereafter they wanted to prosper together after the film's success. Kartiki was alleged to have refused further assistance, which subsequently led up to the dispute in legal terms, he said.

On their part, on behalf of Kartiki, Sikhya Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. issued a release refuting the allegations. They said that the documentary was about raising awareness about elephant conservation and how the efforts of the forest department and mahouts like Bomman and Bellie had helped achieve this. They also pointed out the effect it had on other Mahout communities around them.

The Elephant Whisperers is a 41-minute short feature documentary. The relationship between an orphaned baby elephant called Raghu and his caring mahout couple, Bomman and Bellie, is captured in the movie. This pair tends to him and looks after him because they realise their true bonding. The movie attracted wide attention and earned an Academy Award that Indian leaders acknowledged.

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