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Bomman is an Indian Mahout, who works with the Tamil Nadu Forest Department. He gained popularity in 2023 after he appeared in an Oscar-winning short documentary film titled The Elephant Whisperers.
K. Bomman was born in 1971 (age 52 years; as of 2023) in Madumalai, Nilgiris district, Tamil Nadu, India.
Height (approx.): 5′ 6″
Hair Colour: Salt and Pepper
Eye Colour: Dark Brown
Bomman was born into a Hindu family belonging to the Kattunayakan tribe in Tamil Nadu.
Parents & Siblings
His father, Kunjan, was a Mahout.
Wife & Children
His wife, Bellie Amma, is a Mahout and works in the Theppakadu Elephant Camp. They met each other when the forest department temporarily hired Bellie as a caretaker for Raghu and Bommi, two elephant calves. They got married to each other in the late 2000s.
He had a son and a daughter. His son died during the shooting of The Elephant Whisperers. His stepdaughter, whom Bellie had from her first husband, died in a local hospital after she set herself ablaze.
Bomman follows Hinduism. Apart from being a Mahout, he is also a temple priest and worships Ganesha.
He resides at Theppakadu Elephant Elephant Camp, Nilgiris district, Tamil Nadu-643223, India.
Since Bomman belonged to a family of Mahouts, it was natural for him to be one. As a Mahout, he began working with the Tamil Nadu Forest Department in Theppakadu Elephant Camp at Mudumalai Tiger Reserve in 1984. There, he was tasked to find and rescue elephants in distress. In May 2017, he rescued and adopted Raghu, a 3-month-old elephant calf, after its mother had died due to electrocution in the Mudumali Tiger Reserve. In June 2019, he rescued another elephant calf named Bommi (aka Ammu) after she was left behind its herd in the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, and adopted her.
In 2023, he was ordered by the Tamil Nadu Forest Department on the Madras High Court’s directives to find two elephant calves that went missing in the Palacode forest at Dhrmapuri. In an interview, he said that he would like to adopt and raise the calves after finding them. Talking about it, he said,
These are the two elephant calves that were part of a herd. Their mothers were among the three elephants that had died after getting electrocuted, last week, in Dharmapuri. They went into the forest after being chased away by some men who were in an inebriated state. If I find them, I hope to get the chance to raise them.”
The Elephant Whisperers
Bomman appeared in the 2022 short documentary film The Elephant Whisperers, produced by Guneet Monga and directed by Kartiki Gonsalves. The shooting for the documentary began in 2017 with Bomman, his wife, Bellie, and Raghu and Bommi, the two elephant calves the duo raised, in its cast. The shooting for the film ended in 2022 and was released on Netflix, an OTT platform, in the same year. In 2023, the film received an Oscar for Best Documentary Short Film. In an interview, Bomman said that he was very happy that the film received the Oscar. He further said that it was a big achievement for India. Talking about the film, he said,
It is a matter of pride for our country. The documentary makers just filmed me and the elephants as we normally are and captured our regular lives on a day-to-day basis. However, standing in front of the camera and talking was different as it was my first time. I am thankful to Kartiki madam and also to the elephants. I am happy that the award has brought pride to the entire nation and our forest department.”
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