Bringing back the smile

Bringing back the smile

Celebrity Status

Bringing back the smile

 Megan Mylan displaying the Oscar trophy DH photo by Vasu M NIt was the most cherished journey ever undertaken. For what was destined was the pure, unalloyed smile, that only a six-year-old girl could flash. And that the girl in question, Pinki, was hampered by a cleft lip only made documentary film-maker Megan Mylan realise that the smile was pregnant with a myriad possibilities.

Now that Smile Pinki is lighting up the large screen at select screenings and some theatrical releases in the country after bagging the Oscars for Indian Story, it is the end of Mylan's most fulfiling journey ever.

Megan travelled into the interiors of the country to a tiny village near Varanasi and shot the story of Pinki. Pinki was cured of the cleft lip, thanks to the efforts of Megan and SmileTrain, an NGO, initiative to rid people of this deformity free of cost. “I was deeply involved in this and now Pinki has become an inseparable part of my life. I feel a sense of obligation to her,” Megan told to Metrolife.

She added, “we wanted the film to be as natural as it could be and not made up or even patched up here and there.”

To Megan, documentaries are not only meant to entertain but must carry with them a strong social message. “I will make short films on issues that I care about and are worth my energy,” she says.

When asked what her perception of India was as a Westerner and her take on Slumdog Millionaire, she said, “You see Slumdog Millionaire was an India seen through Dan Boyle’s eyes and he told a story as he saw it. Smile Pinki is my perception of an India that has been neglected and where a large section of populace is unlettered,” she reasons.
Megan says she is aware of things she doesn’t know about the country, “I am respectful of my limitations."

Has she found her next story here on this soil? “I never plan my stories. They happen in an instant. The subject must soak my attention and interest,” she reasons.
But the Oscars must have surely changed her life forever?

“Yes, I did have a lot of people I have missed out all these years call me up. Even a kindergarten boy I had a crush on called me to congratulate me, of course now he’s married with kids,” she laughs. 

She accepts that the world has recognised her but, “after the dust settles down I will still go back do my chores, my laundry and be my old self,” she says.

Is she flooded with offers? “I did get my offers to work but I am not interested and I am happy in my little space,” she concludes.