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Sunday, December 04 2022
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Smile Pinki: Casting a beautiful smile on innocent faces

Photo Credit : By Author

Why do we think our faces are so important? They are the means we use to present ourselves to others and the outside world. However, for people from low-income families who were born with facial deformities, the situation can be different. But even a small act of kindness has the strength to brighten people’s futures.

One such film is Smile Pinki, directed by Megan Mylan which won the Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject). This heart-warming documentary aims to educate viewers on facial deformity by showcasing the faces of real children with clefts and letting us see a glimpse of their life. The objective of the film is to educate and inform viewers that cleft lips are treatable and that the treatment is simple and should be done without hesitation.

The film says that an estimated 35,000 children with cleft deformities are born every year in India alone. Poor children are entitled to free corrective surgeries but their parents either aren’t aware of them or object out of superstition and fear.

The documentary opens with the story of a five-year-old girl called Pinki, who belongs to a poor family in Bihar. She has a cleft lip and to the continuous discrimination from her village school, she has become an outcast among the rest and doesn’t stand school. However, as a ray of hope, her family is approached by a social worker who informs them about free surgery that could help Pinki overcome all her life struggles. The social worker walks around to various places, making them aware of a camp they will be organising to help children with a cleft through surgery. He tries to convince the family or Pinki to attend the camp and thus she undergoes surgery.

It also focuses on another boy Ghutaru with a similar condition.

Like Pinki, he too doesn’t go to school and rarely speaks due to the deformity in the cleft palate. Both Pink and Ghutaru get a new life following the surgery. And they leave with a beautiful smile and enlist their names to join the school and be like any other kids without having to face any difficulties.

Smile Pinki’s simplicity is what gives it beauty. One might feel that the film’s dialogue, cinematography, script, and other aspects are poor. However, it should be noted that the film’s goal was not to win over audiences; rather, it was to convey the harsh realities faced by thousands of children who are born with a cleft. This enables the audience to directly get connected with the people in the film.

The film succeeds in raising awareness despite having several technical flaws and it rightly deserved the Academy Award in 2008.

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Reshma B.

Reshma Babu, a young Postgraduate in Mass Communication and Journalism from St. Aloysius College, Mangalore University, utilises her considerable learned journalistic knowledge and inherent story writing and sub-editing abilities to add value to the company’s media brands and the editorial team. All dimensions of human interaction are her prime focus.

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