Documentary on Mirzapur Girl at Oscars Too

Lucknow, Jan 24:
While 'Slumdog Millionaire' dazzles it way to the Oscars, little Pinky of little-known Mirzapur is quietly making her own plans for the big night.

The eight-year-old is the protagonist of 'Smile Pinki', a 39-minute documentary film that has been nominated for the Oscars as well. The film, based on a fairy tale cure of Pinky who was born with a lip deformity, was shortlisted in October 2008 by the Academy of Motion Picture, Arts and Sciences. A thrilled Pinky has her arrangements in place, should the invite to the gala land at their door.

"My father has bought me a pair of jeans and a shimmering top," a breathless Pinky told TOI on Friday. In fact, Rajendra Sonkar, a small-time farmer from Rampur Dahaba in Mirzapur's interiors, scrimped to get Pinky the dress. The Sonkars rushed to the market for some good clothes after a social activist from Varanasi called up with glad tidings. The big problem for the family, as of now, is getting to Los Angeles on their own. "I've never gone beyond Varanasi. America is so far away," said Rajendra, a tad worried.

Dr Subodh Kumar Singh, the plastic surgeon who played godfather to Pinky with the operation, is trying to tackle the issue. He has approached his contacts for help. "But arranging for visa, passport and tickets may not be easy. We are keeping our fingers crossed," he said.

The news has catapulted the Varanasi surgeon into the big league. Singh recollected the call from director Megan Mylan on Thursday. "She was ecstatic and the initial minute of our exchange made no sense. I was overwhelmed by the news of nomination," he said. Incidentally, this is Mylan's first Oscar nomination, although she has already been nominated for the Emmys. Magan enquired about her lucky mascot and her progress in school, Singh said.

Dr Singh had gifted 400-odd books to the girl and is now trying to raise funds to add a room to the Sonkars' small dwelling. The village gram sabha has gifted Pinky a pucca toilet. And after Singh ran the Bhojpuri version of 'Smile Pinky' before a 500-strong audience from Rampur Dahaba and neighbouring villages, their social status in the area has jumped several notches. An Oscar will be the cherry on the cake.

"I am happy with the honour my daughter has brought us," said Rajendra. "That she's cured, happy and not a social outcast is reward enough for me," he adds. Everything else, including a ticket to Hollywood, would only be a bonus. 


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