The million-dollar Pinki smile has done it again.
The Oscar nomination for the Hindi-Bhojpuri documentary film Smile Pinki has come as a blessing in disguise for Rampur Dabahi village of Mirzapur district. This is the village where the film’s protagonist Pinki lives.
The district administration of Mirzapur, 300 km east of Lucknow, has been moved by the Oscar nomination for the film, which is shot largely in Rampur Dabahi. It has decided to adopt Rampur Dabahi and develop it as a model village.
The administration has also decided to pay for Pinki’s entire education. Pinki is a class II student at the government primary school in Rampur Dabahi.
Officiating district magistrate Jaswant Singh said on Sunday that the village would be developed as an ‘Adarsh Village’ (Model Village) through implementation of a 10-point programme. The programme includes developing or providing roads, power, potable water, schools and widow pension benefits.
Singh further said Pinki’s father Rajendra Sonkar, a daily wager, has been assured by the Uttar Pradesh government that her educational and other expenses would be paid for by the state.
“It’s an honour for the entire district that Pinki’s smile brought back by surgeons in Varanasi has put Mirzapur under a global spotlight. Now we want the world to know about a fully-developed Rampur Dabahi village,” Jaswant Singh said.
If the assurances of the authorities see the light of day, they will usher a new dawn in the lives of the villagers of Rampur Dabahi. They have complained that they have to travel two kilometres just to get potable water from a makeshift canal in Khoria village.
The residents of the hillside village had also told an HT team that the last electric pole was installed at Bairampur, three kilometres from Pinki’s village.
Smile Pinki, a 39-minute documentary by American director Megan Mylan, has Pinki as the protagonist. It is the real life agony-to-ecstasy tale of Pinki and other children born with cleft-lips, who have been given the million-dollar smile by a group of doctors in Varanasi led by young plastic surgeon Dr Subodh Singh under a global initiative, Smile Train Project.