Amidst Slumdog Millionaire’s spectacle at Oscar nominations, one Indian film went unnoticed despite being nominated. ‘Smile Pinki’ is being nominated in the short documentary section which revolves around poor eight year old Pinki from a village. SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE  finds it ally in ‘Pinky’ to the prestigious Oscar as far as Indian connection is concerned. Pinki is an eight year old girl from a village near Varanasi who is getting ready to go for the Oscar awards ceremony. Pinki happens to be the protagonist of a 39-minute documentary film named- Smile Pinki, which got nominated for the Oscars.

Smile Pinki has added something more to cheer for the Indians amidst the strong presence made by Slumdog Millionaire and the Indians attached to it. While people are busy celebrating Slumdog Millionaire’s encouraging display at Oscars nominations, little Pinki from a little village in Mirzapur district located near Varanasi is quietly weaving her own dreams for the big night.

Smile Pinki is the tale of a girl born with a lip deformity which made her a social outcast. Produced in Bhojpuri and Hindi (with English subtitles), Smile Pinki tells speaks about the journey of poor Pinki, daughter of a farmer, from cleft-lipped towards normalcy after undergoing plastic surgery in a nursing home.

This was sort of a dream come true for Pinki, as this simple surgery that can cure such a deformity is a distant dream for the poor folks like her. This change in the fortune of Pinky could only happen with the efforts of Pankaj, a social worker travelling village to village to help such needy ones through a hospital that provides free surgery to them.

This documentary was shot in Pinki’s village and G S Memorial Plastic Surgery Hospital in Varanasi where Pinki underwent the surgery by plastic surgeon Subodh Kumar Singh. Subodh is the project director of ‘Smile Train’, which works in the cause of bringing back smile on the faces of cleft children by performing free surgery.

Before being nominated for Oscars, Smile Pinki, was also short listed in October 2008, by the Academy of Motion Picture, Arts and Sciences. Amidst the celebrations of Slumdog Millionaire’s nominations, this fairy tale cure of Pinki almost went unnoticed for an Academy award in the short documentary section. The others in the race with Smile Pinky are The Conscience of Nhem En, The Final Inch, and The Witness – From the Balcony of Room 306.

The documentary is directed by Megan Mylan which also tells the similar story of another boy Ghutaru, who alongwith Pinki were made social outcasts due to their cleft lips. Nomination of Smile Pinki for Oscar is bound to bring awareness about this congenital anomaly among the general public and health agencies. Subodh Singh, the man behind giving smile to these so called outcasts, is elated with the documentary making a cut into the prestigious Oscar award nominations and believes this as good news for all cleft patients whose life can change.

On Pinki’s front, the family is elated as well as concerned about the arrangements to be made if and when Pinki has to go to Los Angeles for the awards ceremony. The family is trying to do whatever possible soon after the news was disclosed to them by a social activist from Varanasi.  It is a tough ask for a poor family to make arrangements to visit US even though it is a matter of pride.

However, Dr Subodh Singh, is trying to help in tackling the issues related arranging visa, passport, and tickets. He has been a sort of God father to Pinki who has not only cured her deformity but has also gifted 400-odd books to the girl and is even in the process of raising funds to add a room for his family. Hats off to Dr. Singh, Pankaj and people like them who are striving to bring back happiness and smile on the faces of people who have forgotten to dream!

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