Oscar-winning documentary has a Kozhikode link

When 'The Elephant Whisperers' was declared the best documentary short film at the Oscars, there was not a dry eye in Aswathi Naduthodi’s house in Kozhikode.

Published: 15th March 2023 06:02 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th March 2023 06:02 AM   |  A+A-

Aswathi Naduthodi

Aswathi Naduthodi

By Express News Service

KOZHIKODE:  When The Elephant Whisperers was declared the best documentary short film at the Oscars, there was not a dry eye in Aswathi Naduthodi’s house in Kozhikode. The 31-year-old, who hails from Kottooli, Kozhikode, was the post-production supervisor of the film, the first Indian documentary to win an Oscar.

“All the credit goes to the film’s creators and Netflix,” said Aswathi, the daughter of Udayasree and the late N Vasudevan. “The Elephant Whisperers is Kartiki Gonsalves’ directorial debut. It is indeed an honour to work alongside such a passionate director. This was a major opportunity for me,” Aswathi said.
She kickstarted her career in the film industry as an assistant to noted director Bijoy Nambiar.

Later, big dreams tugged her to Mumbai, where she worked for several Bollywood movies. Aswathi, who does production and post-production, has also worked on several south Indian movies as well, such as Surarai Potru, Minnal Murali, and Uyare.

Working on The Elephant Whisperers was not an easy task, Aswathi pointed out. “It was a three-year-long project and the big dream of a debut director. Kartiki had worked on the movie for almost six years. Hence, we had to be sure about everything in the movie. We had over 250 hours of raw footage. This was later converted to the final project, which is 39 minutes long,” Aswathi added.

Aswathi’s family is very encouraging of her passion for film, especially her father, N Vasudevan.
He stood like a rock when several people tried to discourage her from pursuing a career in the film industry.  Aswathi received the award from the dignitaries at the 95th Academy Awards and is celebrating the victory with the team in Hollywood.

She is expected to fly back to Kozhikode and share the happiness with her family and friends soon, Udayasree said. The Elephant Whisperers follows the story of Bomman and Bellie, who are entrusted with an orphaned baby elephant named Raghu.

The precious bond that develops between the tribal couple and the elephant is at the heart of the movie.
Shot in the Theppakadu Elephant Camp inside the Mudumulai Tiger Reserve, the movie also highlights the serenity of nature and the life of tribals, who live in harmony with it.


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