Poorna Malavath was 13 years and 11 months old when she reached the sum­mit in 2014

New Straits Times - - World -

ABOLLYWOOD film hit­ting In­dian cine­mas to­day tells the in­spi­ra­tional story of a tribal girl from ru­ral In­dia who be­came the youngest woman to sum­mit Mount Ever­est.

Poorna Malavath was 13 years and 11 months old when she planted In­dia’s tri­colour flag on the top of the world’s high­est moun­tain on May 25, 2014.

Malavath’s re­mark­able jour­ney from a re­mote, back­ward Adi­vasi tribal vil­lage to the record books in­spired film­maker Rahul Bose to pro­duce, di­rect and act in the biopic, which is sim­ply ti­tled


“A 13-year-old girl scal­ing Mount Ever­est was im­prob­a­ble in it­self be­cause here was a poor, un­e­d­u­cated girl from Te­lan­gana (state), which does not even have a mound, for­get a moun­tain,” Bose said.

The di­rec­tor said he wanted to show the “sheer phys­i­cal dan­ger” that Malavath put her­self through reach­ing the 8,848m sum­mit in Nepal.

“But I also wanted to make a film which spot­lights what it’s like to be a girl, un­e­d­u­cated, Adi­vasi and poor. These are four big strikes against a per­son and to cross these are big hur­dles.” Malavath is the daugh­ter of agri­cul­tural labour­ers. Her jour­ney started when she was se­lected to be part of an ex­tra-cur­ric­u­lar rock climb­ing ini­tia­tive for tribal schools, run by the state gov­ern­ment, which was then part of Andhra Pradesh.

Bose plays R. S. Praveen, who started the ini­tia­tive, and be­came Malavath’s men­tor.

Praveen and the climb­ing in­struc­tor, who him­self had sum­mited Ever­est, ar­ranged for Malavath and other chil­dren to go to In­dia’s moun­tain­ous north­east­ern state of Dar­jeel­ing to im­prove their skills.

Praveen then de­cided he wanted to ar­range for an Adi­vasi girl to at­tempt Ever­est to in­spire tribal fam­i­lies about the po­ten­tial of their chil­dren.

Malavath was cho­sen along with a teenage Dalit boy called Sad­hana­pally Anand Ku­mar. Both were feted by the In­dian me­dia on their re­turn.

“There is a line when Poorna says ‘girls can do any­thing’. The mes­sage is never give up and that ev­ery­one can over­come his own Ever­est,” said Bose.


Poorna Malavath at the screen­ing of ‘Poorna’ in Mum­bai on Mon­day.

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