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Home / Bollywood / Kamali, documentary on 10yr old Indian girl and her single mom, in BAFTA race

Kamali, documentary on 10yr old Indian girl and her single mom, in BAFTA race

Kamali, a documentary on a young girl’s journey in skateboarding, has been nominated for a BAFTA.

bollywood Updated: Jan 11, 2020 14:57 IST
Radhika Bhirani, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
The story of Kamali Moorthy’s empowerment through skateboarding, stands a chance to win at the BAFTA.
The story of Kamali Moorthy’s empowerment through skateboarding, stands a chance to win at the BAFTA.

The touching and inspiring real-life story of a single Indian mother Suganthi’s struggle to break free from gender shackles for her 10-year-old daughter Kamali Moorthy’s empowerment through skateboarding, stands a chance to win at the British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA).

Kamali, a 24-minute-long documentary directed by Sasha Rainbow, a London-based director from New Zealand, is nominated in the British Short Film category of the Awards, organised annually by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA). Interestingly, it’s competing, among others, with Learning To Skateboard In A Warzone (If You’re A Girl), the story of young Afghan girls learning to read, write and skateboard in Kabul, and Azaar, which is set in 1800s India and has Hindi-speaking protagonists.

Also read: Anupam Kher appeals to Indians to not let those running a ‘vicious campaign’ against government win. Watch video

After winning at the Academy Award-qualifying Atlanta Film Festival, Kamali, which was filmed in the coastal town of Mahabalipuram in India’s Tamil Nadu, had a shot at the Oscars. But it missed being in the shortlist. Being nominated for a BAFTA Award, is, however, a ray of hope. “I think we’re really focused on celebrating the victories! To be longlisted for the Oscars is a huge honour and now we are BAFTA- nominated. I think we’ve gone further than all of our expectations,” Rainbow tells us, adding that the news “still hasn’t sunk in”.

Rainbow’s first tryst with Kamali, who belongs to a small fishing village, was when she saw a picture of her shared by American professional skateboarder Jamie Thomas, who gave Kamali a skateboarding lesson when she was six years old. She recalls, “ [I saw a picture of] a little girl with bare feet skating down a ramp, while researching for a music video about female skateboarders in India. When I spoke to her mother and heard their story, I knew I had to find a way to come back to India and share their story.”

The question of whether the story was worth telling never cropped up in her mind. “Kamali symbolises so much of what the world could be,” says Rainbow, for whom skateboarding holds a deep, metaphorical significance.

She adds, “To get good at skateboarding, you have to fall down, and pick yourself up again. You get good at tumbling, at realising failure is an inevitable path in life, that it doesn’t mean the end but a chance to improve. It seems like a great metaphor for life.”

Rainbow hopes to see Kamali as a feature film in Bollywood. She also reveals there are efforts being put in to build a bigger skatepark in Kamali’s village so that more girls can learn to skateboard.

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