Oscar-winning filmmaker Guneet Monga returned to India in the wee hours of Friday after winning the coveted award for her short documentary 'The Elephant Whisperers'.
While the producer is on cloud nine currently and she received a warm welcome in her country, she found herself in the centre of a racism debate at the 95th Academy Awards.
The debate cropped up after Guneet was not allowed to deliver her speech post winning the Oscar for 'The Elephant Whisperers'.
Guneet Monga snubbed at Oscars 2023
It so happened that after 'The Elephant Whisperers' was announced as the winner in the Best Documentary Short Film categpry, director Kartiki Gonsalves and producer Guneet Monga went up on stage to lift the Oscar statuette.
Kartiki was the first one to deliver her winning speech in which she dedicated the Oscar to her "motherland India".
Her speech lasted for around 43 seconds and it was then Guneet's turn to speak. However, as soon as she stood in front of the mic and was about to begin her speech, the live orchestra began playing, indicating the duo to leave the stage.
However, soon after, a pair of British filmmakers came up on stage to receive another Oscar and both of them were given enough time to speak.
For the unversed, the Academy has a 45-second rule for acceptance speeches.
Several netizens called the entire incident "racist" and slammed the Academy for partial behaviour between two parties.
Guneet Monga breaks silence
Guneet, who is back in India, has finally broken her silence on the entire episode. She said that she was shocked when the cue music played and she was not allowed to speak.
"I am extremely disheartened that my speech was cut off. There was a shock on my face. 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," she told Times of India.
She went on to say, "This was India's moment taken away from me. But then, I thought it's okay, I'll come back here and I will make sure I'm heard."
About The Elephant Whisperers
'The Elephant Whisperers' shows the story of an orphaned elephant named Raghu in Tamil Nadu's Mudumalai National Park who is taken care of by two mahouts Bomman and Belli, an indigenous couple.
The documentary sheds light on the bond formed between humans and animals.
The 41-minute short documentary was up against several other short films including one backed by Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai.
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