Bellie is an Indian mahout, who works with the Tamil Nadu Forest Department. She made headlines in March 2023 after the short documentary film The Elephant Whisperers (2022) in which she appeared along with her husband, Bomman, won an Oscar.
Bellie Amma was born in 1973 (age 50 years; as of 2023) in Mudumalai, Nilgiris district, Tamil Nadu, India. The Interview Times
Hair Colour: Salt and Pepper
Eye Colour: Dark Brown
Bellie was born into a Hindu family belonging to the Kattunayakan tribe in Tamil Nadu. Hindustan Times Kattunayakan belong to the Scheduled Indian Tribes (SITs) category
Parents & Siblings
There is not much information available about her parents and siblings.
Husband & Children
Bellie’s first husband died after he was attacked by a tiger. Her second husband, Bomman, is a mahout, working with the Tamil Nadu Forest Department. Bellie got married to him in the late 2000s.
Bellie had a son and a daughter. Her son died during the shooting of The Elephant Whisperers. Her daughter, whom she had from her first husband, passed away in a local hospital after she set herself ablaze.
Bellie follows Hinduism.
She resides at Theppakadu Elephant Camp, Nilgiris district, Tamil Nadu-643223, India.
Following her first husband’s death, Bellie was employed by the Tamil Nadu Forest Department to temporarily assist Bomman in taking care of the rescued elephants. In May 2017, she began working as a caretaker for Raghu, a 3-month-old elephant calf, after it was rescued by Bomman. In June 2019, she was appointed as a caretaker for Bommi (aka Ammu), a female elephant calf. In 2023, Bomman, in an interview, said that she was working as a house help at a forest department official’s residence in the Theppakadu Elephant Camp.
The Elephant Whisperers
In 2017, Kartiki Gonsalves and Guneet Monga, the director and producer of The Elephant Whisperers, approached Bomman and Bellie to cast them, along with Raghu and Bommi, in their short documentary film. The production of the film was completed in 2022, and it premiered on Netflix on 8 December 2022. On 13 March 2023, the film received an Oscar. While talking about the film winning an Oscar, Bellie said,
The fact that my documentary, My Story, won the Oscar has made everyone in the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve happy. The Adivasi (indigenous) people and the forest department are both happy. Nobody has taken any action of this kind to acknowledge the Adivasi (indigenous) people of Mudumalai’s efforts. All of us are isolated within the Mudumalai jungle, with no access to the outside world. We have come this far because I nurtured those two elephant calves.”
In April 2023, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the Theppakadu Elephant Camp, where he met Bomman, Bellie, Raghu, and Bommi.
On 9 May 2023, Bomman and Bellie and The Elephant Whisperers’ director Kartiki Gonsalves paid a visit to M.A. Chidambaram Stadium at Chepauk in Chennai, where MS Dhoni presented them personalised jerseys.
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