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The harshness in their lives

Director K.N.T. Sastry's `Kamli' shows a range of emotions 

Filmmaker K.N.T Sastry says of his movie Kamli... "My daughter threw light on the lambadas leading peripheral lives in thandas (hamlets) in Andhra Pradesh. Whether they are on the move or settled in a hamlet in the poverty-ridden Telengana region, life has always been harsh for them."

Nandita Das the lead character showed how hard working a lambada woman can be and takes up the fight at the hospital staircase and ultimately gets back her baby that has been swapped."

The girl child amongst the lambadas has become an expendable commodity and the scene where Shafi who plays the irresponsible and alcoholic husband tries to convince Kamli to sell the girl child to overcome the financial problems is worth a watch.

K.N.T. Sastry says, "the scene is based on a real life incident and is actually a direct lift from my watchman's life.

I've been a witness to their fight at the hospital ward. Shafi has been so realistic and has done a fantastic job. Nandita lived Kamli's role."

An array of emotions
The director has succeeded in showing the entire shades of emotion that a mother undergoes when she loses her baby.

The struggle of a hapless lambada and finally how she spontaneously accepts the orphaned child that has been left in the cradle, speaks of the bond between a mother and an abandoned infant.

Shafi had spent days at PC Thanda near Ibrahimpatnam, Mehboobnagar, Pillala Marri and Achampet with the lambadas to learn their body language and their lifestyle.

The film had already gained official entry to the Pusan Film Festival in Korea and the Asian Film Festival in Mumbai. K.N.T. Sastry dedicates the film to Soundarya who was his original choice to play the lead role.

The film is a plea to stop children from becoming commodities to be booked in the womb.

(With Thanks from "The Hindu" Dated September 4, 2006)


Flick with a powerful message

B. Madhu Gopal

The focus of `Kamli' is on the plight of Lambada women 

VISAKHAPATNAM:  KNT Sastry, who has won the Indira Gandhi Award for the Best First Film in 2002 for `Tiladaanam,' has come out with another interesting film `Kamli' which mirrors the travails of Lambada women and their innocence as they attempt to eke out a livelihood in a heartless metropolis.

A special screening of `Kamli', which is yet to be released, was arranged by the Vizag Film Society at the Academic Staff College of Andhra University on Tuesday.

The film opens with a song in tribal dialect as women and men, dressed in their colourful traditional attire, dance amidst the lush green countryside. It revolves around `Kamli', the central character, played by Nandita Das, and her relentless fight to get back her baby boy who was swapped from the hospital bed.

Gripping fare

The artistes, particularly Nandita, her husband played by Shafi, and Tanikella Bharani, breathe life into their characters. The film also reveals the superstitions of the Lambada tribe and some of its strange customs like pouring toddy into the mouth of a toddler to put him to sleep as the women go out in search of work.

Lambada parents sell their baby girls to child adoption agencies for a paltry Rs. 20. Many rejoice at the prospect of delivering a girl as she would fetch them some money.

It is a reflection of their poverty. The agencies sell the girls for adoption abroad and when they grow older they are reduced to prostitutes.

Cruel fate

Kamli and her husband also sell their first child, a baby girl, thinking that she would at least lead a life of luxury. They were unaware of the travails to be faced by the girl in later life. On the second occasion Kamli delivers a boy but the hospital staff swap it for a girl.

The film was shot entirely at a slum in Hyderabad and at Ibrahimpatnam near the twin cities.

But for the main characters who were given costumes, all the others were slum dwellers in their original attire, Mr. Sastry told the media on Tuesday.

"I was impressed by the song (in tribal dialect) when I heard street singers humming it in Warangal," he said and added: "I only came to know later that it meant: we went to Hyderabad and sold our daughters."

Tough schedule

Recalling the difficulties he had faced in the making of the film, he said: "I had narrated the story to Soundarya and she agreed to play the character impressed by it.

But 15 days before the commencement of shooting, she died in an accident.

Then I decided to cast Nandita Das."

He refused to buy the theory that audience were averse to parallel cinema and opined that distributors were responsible for bringing in that trend.

The only difference in parallel and mainstream cinema was in their presentation.

VFS honorary secretary Narava Prakasa Rao, president K. Ravi and vice-president Krishna Bai were present.

(With Thanks from "The Hindu")