#NewsBytesExclusive: Oscars shortlist unexpected, says 'Elephant Whisperers' cinematographer Anand Bansal
Filmmaker Kartiki Gonsalves's Netflix documentary The Elephant Whisperers has been shortlisted for the Oscars 2023. It is now eyeing a spot in the final nominations, which will be announced on January 24. While the nominations are over a week away, one of the short's three cinematographers, Anand Bansal, spoke to NewsBytes about how it feels to have made it through the longlist and more.
How does it feel on getting shortlisted for the Oscars?
Everyone on the team is thrilled that our film has been shortlisted for the Academy Awards 2023. The news was very unexpected but has got us all excited! The Elephant Whisperers started off as a passion project for Gonsalves, the film's director, even before Netflix came on board. We are all hoping that the film makes it to the final nominations.
You've shot it in the jungles. What were the challenges?
There were many challenges while shooting it. One of the problems I faced initially was understanding how to behave in front of an elephant and how to understand Raghu and Ammu (the two elephants) better in terms of their nature and behavior. However, the biggest challenge that all of us faced while shooting the film was directing an elephant. It was anything but easy!
How's the response you've received for the film, so far?
It's a story about a Tamil Nadu couple who have devoted their lives to taking care of an orphaned baby jumbo, Raghu. Everyone around me who has seen the film had only positive things to say. I have been told that it has made them feel closer to their parents in some sense because it shows the relationship between parents and children.
Tell us more about 'The Elephant Whisperers'
The film is set in Mudumalai Tiger Reserve's Theppakadu Elephant Camp and also speaks about conservation efforts by the native tribe. It is backed by Guneet Monga and Achin Jain. Cinematographer Krish Makhija also shot some parts of it. Karan Thapliyal, who previously shot Writing With Fire (nominated for Oscars 2022), was also on the team. It was Makhija who got me on board.
What other projects are you presently working on?
I'm presently working on a feature film which is my third project with filmmaker Achal Mishra. We have collaborated before for Gamak Ghar and Dhuin. Both internationally acclaimed films were screened at the Museum of Modern Arts, New York, in 2022. Apart from these, I have two more Netflix projects which are scheduled to release later this year.