Kartiki Gonsalves meets Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin, receives 1 crore cash prize for Oscar win

Mar 21, 2023 03:22 PM IST

Oscar-winning director Kartiki Gonsalves was felicitated by Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin on Tuesday. She received a cash prize ₹1 crore as well.

The Elephant Whisperers director Kartiki Gonsalves returned to India on Monday with her Oscar in hand. She had won the award for Best Documentary Short at the 95th Academy Awards on March 12. The documentary follows two indigenous elephant caretakers at an elephant camp in Tamil Nadu, who raise orphaned elephant calves, forming a strong bond with them. Kartiki also met with Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin, who felicitated the filmmaker for her historic Oscar, and announced a cash prize of 1 crore for the Oscar winning filmmaker. (Also read: TN CM MK Stalin praises The Elephant Whisperers caretakers on Oscar win, issues cash prizes)

The Elephant Whisperers, directed by Kartiki Gonsalves, won the Oscar for Best Documentary Short.
The Elephant Whisperers, directed by Kartiki Gonsalves, won the Oscar for Best Documentary Short.

A video of the interaction was also shared on Twitter. The chief minister and Kartiki posed with the Oscar trophy, and later he awarded with the cheque for 1 crore to her for her achievement. The director wore a maroon printed dress for the meeting.

Earlier in the month, MK Stalin also met with the caretaker couple Bomman and Bellie, who featured in the documentary along with young elephants Raghu and Ammu. The Tamil Nadu government also announced several cash prizes for the all 91 caretakers at the elephant camps in the state, as well as new upgrades for the facility.

Kartiki was seen arriving at the airport in India and received a warm welcome as she exited the airport gate. The director, who dressed in black jacket, shirt and pants, was seen holding her Oscar trophy as she was greeted by well-wishers. Both Kartiki and producer Guneet Monga have received a hero's welcome after their return to India. This is the first Indian documentary production to win the trophy.

After winning the award, the first-time filmmaker had shared in a statement, "[The Elephant Whisperers] allowed me to speak about the sacred bond between us and our natural world- for the respect of indigenous communities and the empathy towards other living beings we share our space with. And finally for co-existence. Thank you to the Academy for recognizing our film, highlighting indigenous people and animals, to Netflix for believing in the power of this film, to Bomman & Bellie for sharing their sacred wisdom and finally, to Guneet my Producer, Sikhya Entertainment, and my entire team.”

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