Busy caring for elephants, couple hasn’t yet watched the full document | English Movie News


When the Oscar awards were announced for ‘The Elephant Whisperers’ on Monday, the hero of the documentary, K Bomman, 55, unaware of the global stir it was causing, was busy taking care of an orphaned elephant calf in Dharmapuri in Tamil Nadu. The calf’s mother was among three elephants that were electrocuted recently by an electric fence put up illegally in a farm.
Bomman’s wife Bellie, was, as usual, tending to elephants at the veterinary centre at the Theppakadu camp in Mudumalai Tiger Reserve in the Nilgiris. Their lives have always revolved around wild elephants and abandoned calves.

They were the ‘foster parents’ of the two elephant heroes in the documentary, Raghu and Bommi, for two years, after which they were handed over to other mahouts about a year ago.
Bomman and Bellie, though, are yet to watch theOscar-winning documentary. They have watched a bit of it, but not the full film. But as news of the documentary winning an Oscar spread, Bomman and Bellie were suddenly in the news.

Asked what he felt about the Oscar award, Bomman said rather nonchalantly, “It’s good. But it doesn’t make much difference to my life. My chosen job is to rear wild elephants and calves. I’m happy with that. ” Bomman has been a mahout for 28 years.

Belliesaid, “It is good to hear that the filmmaker’s efforts got recognition. I am happy. ”

When Raghu and Bommi entered their lives, it was an emotional journey for Bomman and Bellie. It was the first assignment for Bellie as a caretaker though she had been with other elephants assigned to Bomman.

“We took care of Raghu like our own child. We spent many sleepless nights. It was the first time we were both involved in rearing a calf. Itwas a great bond between us,” said Bomman.

Two years passed and adding to their joy, another abandoned female calf, just three months old, from Sathyamangalam forest, named Bommi, came into their lives. “Our joy doubled. It was a life full of happy emotions,” said Bomman.

About a year ago, Raghu (now seven years old) and Bommi (three and a half years old) were transferred to younger mahouts for care. Bomman was assigned to another elephant, Krishna, and Bellie was relieved from work. But a month ago she was reinstated as a temporary worker in the camp.
Bomman said, “My wife and I were emotionally disturbed for a while after we had to leave Raghu and Bommi. After Raghu and Bommi, I am now assigned to take care of another orphaned calf and unite it with a herd in the forest in Dharmapuri. Until this job is done, this calf is our kutty (child),” said Bomman.


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