Oscar Winner, Elephant Whisperers (On Netflix) is Exquisite

Here is why. It was something new for a whole lot of people. Extreme, natural beauty and unusual family dynamics — a couple from Southern India, devoting their lives to care for their baby — an elephant named Raghu.

Karthik Rajan
2 min readMar 13



I grew up in that part of the country ( the southern part of India) but never that part of the pristine forest with so many animals. The south is indeed beautiful with the (tribal) community and their way of life.

And the human emotions are enthralling. For example, right at the end, the glee with which the young boys of the tribe scrub the elephant and wash him and sometimes ride on his trunk is extremely enriching.

“Without him we’d have nothing.”

The summer of 2016 was torrid. Water was scarce supply. Raghu, a young elephant, and his mom ventured out to the village in search of water. His mom was electrocuted and Raghu was orphaned. The southern Indian state of India, Tamil Nadu, appointed Bomman, a tribal man to take care of mischievous Raghu.

His assigned assistant was Belli— who had lost her husband to the forest tigers and had to bear the burden of burying her child. Initially she was apprehensive of this opportunity but she did have a great regard for the elephants. What became a bond for the elephants blossomed into a love for the fellow whisperer — Raghu.

Somewhere along the way, we see the elephants as one of us.

The couple are entrusted with a younger elephant Ammu. The older one, Raghu is assigned to a more experienced caretaker specializing in adolescents. The couple is heartbroken on the separation.

In an unguarded moment, the young Ammu wipes away Belli’s tears. In another early morning capture, she hugs Raghu and draws him closer when he is about to fetch her milk.

And before all this, Raghu is such a playful fellow that he plays football with fellow tribal kids.

In the world of us vs. them, I really like the theme of adapt and coexist in real life.

Indian culture reveres elephants and other animals as an ode to the shared land and life.

“This is God’s presence in my life,” Bomman says about his bond with Raghu and Ammu.

That pretty much sums up my feeling after watching this evoking documentary on Netflix.



Karthik Rajan

Stories to fuel your mind. Theme: life’s hidden treasures in plain sight. Goal: Warm tone, solid content, crisp stories. About me: one google search away.