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 in which she appeared along with her husband Bomman won an Oscar.
Bellie was born in 1973 (age 50 years; as of 2023) in Madumalai, Nilgiris district, Tamil Nadu, India.
Hair Colour: Salt and Pepper
Eye Colour: Dark Brown
Bellie was born into a Hindu family belonging to the Kattunayakan tribe in Tamil Nadu.
Parents & Siblings
There is not much information on 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.
A photo of Bomman and Bellie together
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 worked 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.
A photo of Bellie with Bommi and Raghu
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 her short documentary film. The film completed its production 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.”
Bellie along with her husband Bomman in a still from The Elephant Whisperers