Smile Pinki (2009)

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Smile Pinki (2009) is an Oscar winning documentary about the struggle of children with cleft lip deformity.


Born with cleft lips in one of the poorest regions of rural India, 5-year old Pinki and 11-year old Ghutaru are ostracized and ridiculed by other children because of their condition. While surgery to correct the defect is routine in the U.S., it is a distant dream for them and their families until they meet Pankaj, a social worker for the G.S. Plastic Surgery Memorial Hospital, who travels from village to village to find children with cleft lips and palates.

Directed by Megan Milan, this uplifting Oscar-winning documentary follows its two wide eyed protagonists from isolation to acceptance.

Smile Pinki spotlights the work of Dr. Sudbodh Kumar Singh, who has operated on thousands of children, including Pinki, at GS Memorial Hospital, as part of The Smile Train, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping children with cleft lip in developing countries.

Prior to winning the Oscar for Best Documentary Short Subject in 2009, Smile Pinki premiered at SilverDocs, was nominated for Best Documentary Short at the International Documentary Association, and won Best International Documentary at the Boulder Film Festival.

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