Mudumulai in Tamil Nadu, in which the Indian documentary short, ‘The Elephant Whisperers’ has been shot, got a huge Oscar bump, when interest about the national park surged online. The documentary and its filmmakers too garnered a lot of interest online due to what is called the ‘Oscar effect’.
Notably, the Oscar win also caused searches for Mudumalai national park to soar by 246 per cent worldwide to a five-year high, according to insights by international portal Celeb Tattler.
According to Google search data analysis, the online searches for the award-winning documentary short film, ‘The Elephant Whisperers’, too shot through the roof and escalated to a whopping 8,164 per cent worldwide, after the 2023 Academy Awards. The ‘Elephant Whisperers’ made history this year as the first Indian production to win an Oscar in this category – ‘Documentary Short Film’.
The documentary directed by Kartiki Gonsalves is set in the sylvan surroundings of Theppakadu camp at Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) in the Nilgiris in Tamil Nadu. It tells the tale of a tribal couple who nurse a malnourished, abandoned elephant calf back to health again and the loving bond they forge with the intelligent pachyderm.
Insights by Celeb Tattler revealed that compared to the week of December 8, 2022, when the documentary was released globally on Netflix, the searches for the film online skyrocketed to an all-time high by 8,164 per cent.
Also watch: Tourists meet baby elephant from the Oscar winning documentary ‘The Elephant Whisperers’
Also, the newbie director Kartiki Gonsalves, who describes herself as an ‘Indian natural history, social documentary photo-journalist/filmmaker currently based out of Nilgiris and Mumbai’, has become celebrity overnight. Nearly 125,000 people viewed her Wikipedia page, while the number of followers on her Instagram account shot up by 25,000.
Meanwhile, producer Guneet Monga’s online profile too got a tremendous lift, as she added almost 30,000 new followers after bringing home the Oscar.
‘The Elephant Whisperers’, which had a 100 per cent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, was praised for its compassionate telling of a story on mahouts belonging to indigenous communities caring for the natural world around them. The philosophy of the film stems from what Kartiki Gonsalves said in her introduction to herself: “We are all are part of the same gigantic intricate web of life. It is very clear that all living things around us are connected whether we’d like to understand it or not. Does it matter what you’re wearing, what you look like, where you come from and what you do or how much money one has? No, it does not. The connections, happiness, laughter, love, pain, struggle and loss are all universal.”
And that after a lot of thought, travelling to remote places and meeting people from all walks of life, she has come to the conclusion that it is “empathy” that connects us all together.