Thursday, February 29, 2024

Producer Guneet Monga says ‘India’s moment was taken away from me’ at Oscars

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The Elephant Whisperers producer Guneet Monga has opened up about being cut off before she could deliver her Oscars acceptance speech.

The 39-year-old producer, who won the Academy Award in the Best Documentary Short film category, was upset by the moment that also caused uproar among film fans.

Footage of the incident showed Monga holding an Oscar and waiting for director Kartiki Gonsalves to end her speech. However, as she approached the mic, the exit music began playing and both women were escorted off-stage.

The moment also caused controversy among fans, with many pointing out that Matthew Freud and Charlie Mackesy, who accepted The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse’s win for Best Animated Short, were given ample time to make their speeches after The Elephant Whisperers.

“There was a shock on my face,” Monga has now told Bombay Times.

“I just wanted to say it’s India’s first Oscar in Indian production, which is such a huge thing. My heart started racing as I couldn’t have come so far and not be heard.

“Western media is pulling up The Academy that I did not get to speak. People are so offended that I did not get the chance to deliver my speech. There are videos and tweets online expressing disappointment that I couldn’t get to speak. This was India’s moment taken away from me.”

Monga said she’ll “come back here and I will make sure I’m heard”.

The producer said she had received “multiple opportunities to share my thoughts” since the incident and “it’s heartening to receive all the love. So a little empathy can go a long way here.”

Monga’s documentary The Elephant Whisperers tells the story of an indigenous couple named Bomman and Bellie as they care for an orphaned baby elephant.

The Tollywood film RRR’s hit song “Naatu Naatu” also won an Oscar for Best Original Song at this year’s ceremony.

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The song, which competed against Rihanna’s “Life Me Up” and Lady Gaga’s “Hold My Hand”, created history by becoming the first song from an Indian film to win in the Best Song category.

In their acceptance speech, composer MM Keeravani said: “Thank you, Academy. I grew up listening to the Carpenters, and now here I am with the Oscars.

“There was only one wish on my mind… RRR has to win, the pride of every Indian, and must put me on the top of the world.”

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