India Today - - LEISURE - —Sukant Deepak

By the time six-year-old Kamali Moor­thy ar­rived in Ben­galuru to meet Sasha Rain­bow, it was dusk. Ac­com­pa­nied by her mother Su­gan­thi, Kamali was there to shoot a mu­sic video for Al­pha Fe­male, a song by the Bri­tish band Wild Beasts. It was the first time she and her mother had left their small fish­ing vil­lage in Tamil Nadu. Thought com­pletely ex­hausted, Kamali’s eyes shone when she spot­ted the skate park where she would be shoot­ing. “The lit­tle girl’s en­ergy was mag­i­cal. We all came to life again,” re­mem­bers Rain­bow, whose doc­u­men­tary Kamali on the young skate­board­ing sen­sa­tion, re­cently won Best Short Doc­u­men­tary at the At­lanta Film Fes­ti­val and has qual­i­fied for the Os­cars 2020.

While mak­ing the mu­sic video,

Rain­bow in­tended to make a doc­u­men­tary on the side. She was in­ter­ested in In­dia’s fe­male skater move­ment. When she saw Kamali skat­ing down the ramp in a lit­tle dress, she knew she had to be a part of it. Af­ter meet­ing Kamali and her mother and ob­serv­ing their re­la­tion­ship, she re­alised the doc­u­men­tary had to be about them. “Ev­ery­thing Su­gan­thi does to em­power Kamali seemed to rep­re­sent the change hap­pen­ing in In­dia now and how it takes one per­son to break the cy­cle and create ma­jor pos­i­tive change.” Shoot­ing Kamali, a self­funded project, was hard. Rain­bow had just a month in In­dia. “It was frus­trat­ing. We wanted the film to also look at the com­mu­nity around them, but it’s funny how these things work out. Be­cause of the lit­tle time, we fo­cused on the re­la­tion­ship be­tween Kamali and her fam­ily which has made it a more per­sonal film,” she says. With no for­mal train­ing, Rain­bow’s work is more emo­tional and in­tu­itive. She likes that the doc­u­men­tary for­mat brings to life the real world through other peo­ple’s eyes, but is also in talks to de­velop Kamali into a fic­tion fea­ture-length film. “There’s a huge au­di­ence for em­pow­er­ing women-led sto­ries in In­dia and across the world,” she says.

SKATER GIRL (left) Sasha Rain­bow with Kamali; and stills from the doc­u­men­tary

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