We were at the Atlanta Film Festival over the weekend and saw some really great work. But, there was one film in particular that really shined. The film is a documentary short called “Kamali” about a girl and her mother, Suganthi, in the skateboarding world of rural India. This little film was so interesting in that it absolutely flipped the narrative around women and girls. It also won Best Documentary Short at the festival.
“In India, a female skateboarder is a symbol; a symbol of going against the grain, standing boldly in front of society and taking ownership of one’s life. Skateboarding symbolizes freedom for these young women to choose to define for themselves what a woman can and should do.”Website of the film “Kamali”
So often, we see films or read about the plight of women and girls in India. Of course, it is important to know what the challenges are. Though, sometimes just seeing a way out for them is so powerful and effective.
The documentary tells the story of a “failed” marriage between Suganthi and Kamali’s father. Right there, the story could have gone the way of leaving a young girl and her single mother destitute. But, that isn’t how it turned out. Suganthi encouraged her daughter to follow her skateboarding dreams with the help of an uncle and also pursued a dream of her own. You also rarely hear of a man stepping out to help. Not to say that there aren’t any, it’s just that the story isn’t told enough. When it happens, as in the case of this film, the viewer in a position of hope rather than hopelessness. In a way, knowing that things are changing.
I was so thrilled that this story was found and made by director, Sasha Rainbow. Just as each film is a little miracle, so it is with Kamali and her mother’s bravery to go against the grain to support her. Here are a few lines from Suganthi from the film:
If my marriage had gone well. I would have kept Kamali locked away like I was. She would have been locked, locked in the house and raised. Married off to a man at the age of 17. My girlSuganthi
musn’tgrow up like that. I want to tell my precious Kamali one thing – to never be afraid.
See the trailer for the film here: