The Million-Dollar smile, which contributed so much to the Oscar success of Megan Mylan’s Smile Pinki, was completely missing from the face of documentary’s eight-year-old protagonist Pinki Sonkar when she landed at Varanasi airport on Saturday afternoon. Instead, there were tears in her eyes. Reason: she was missing her mother, Shimla Devi.
“I have to rush to my mother. Please hurry up. I will neither talk nor give any snaps to photographers,” said little Pinki, skipping a press conference to rush to her mother in Rampur Dabahi village of Mirzapur district.
A day after meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s wife, Gursharan Kaur, in New Delhi, Pinki arrived with daily-wager father Rajendra Sonkar and Dr Subodh Singh —who successfully operated her cleft lip in 2007 — at Varanasi Airport from New Delhi on Saturday afternoon.
At Varanasi Airport, she was welcomed by local BJP MLA Ajai Rai and ex-MP from Varanasi Rajnath Sonkar Shastri. Pinki, her father and Dr Singh then sped to the G.S. Memorial Hospital, where parents of children with cleft lips awaiting surgery under the ‘Smile Train Project’ welcomed her. But Pinki remained silent, with her eyes misty.
A report from Mirzapur said in Pinki’s village, preparations were on in full swing to welcome her. Pinki’s mother said she had prepared special dal, rice, chapatis and vegetables for her daughter.