Director Megan Mylan is in the country to promote her Oscar-winner Smile Pinki, based on the subject of cleft lip in children
How did Smile Pinki happen?
Dr Subodh approached me to make a film on the deformity and cure for a lip cleft, but I was skeptical initially. I thought it over for a while because I was an independent filmmaker. Then I realised that I would be free to do it my way. So I made it. I make documentaries with a social message, so it suited my palate.
The posters of the film read, ‘A real-world fairytale’…
It’s like watching a fairytale journey of the girl. Initially there seemed to be nothing in common. Slowly, I discovered small moments of connectivity and the universality of how a parent must be feeling when their child has a physical deformity. The film takes the viewer into someone else’s life.
What does storytelling mean to you?
Well, there are many good subjects that are made into lousy films. For me, the intersection of good cinema and a worthy subject, means telling a story with a social message.
Was it difficult to tell the story in just 40 minutes?
The film is more of observations than narration. I haven’t interviewed any character like in most documentaries. I want the viewer to interpret the story in their way.
Why Pinki, and not any other child?
She has a sparkle in her eyes and is very charming. She was beautiful before the surgery and she’s a representative of the many children born with this kind of deformity.
What was the experience of being in India?
India is so huge. I only know one small beautiful side of the country – Varanasi, where the documentary was shot.
Did it inspire you to make more films here?
While travelling by road, I felt like there’s a film to be made on everything I saw. But yes, I want to collaborate with Indian filmmakers and make a film.
What’s your next film about?
My next film is in production now. It’s based on race relations in Brazil.