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Smile Pinki
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Smile Pinki
Winner of the 2009 Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject), Smile Pinki tells the uplifting story of two young children in India born with cleft lips. Thanks to the efforts of Smile Train, an organization that pays for surgeries to fix clefts, thousands of children around the world are given a second lease on life every single day.
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Produced and directed by Megan Mylan/Smile Train.

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Segment 1

TITLE
The Smile Train created this film to raise awareness about the plight of millions of children who are suffering with clefts. Every year, we provide free cleft surgery for hundreds of thousands of these children. This is the story of two of our kids. Smile Train: Changing the World One Smile at a Time.
TITLE
Principe Productions presents a film by Megan Mylan
TITLE
Uttar Pradesh, India
DOCTOR
We are offering surgery for children who have a cleft lip or palate. It's a free operation. If you know anyone --
MAN 1
There is a boy in our village. He has a cut lip.
DOCTOR
Has he had surgery?
MAN 1
No.
DOCTOR
That's why we're doing this. Please send him.
MAN 2
Is the fee waived only for the check-up?
DOCTOR
For the operation, medicine, everything.
MAN 1
Everything is free?
DOCTOR
Yes.
MAN 3
Is the hospital here in Banaras?
DOCTOR
Yes.
MAN 4
Is it just one day?
DOCTOR
Registration is one day, free surgery happens every day.
TITLE
Smile Pinki
DOCTOR
This picture you are seeing shows a child born with a cleft lip. I'll leave some flyers. If any of you find out there is someone like this, go tell their parents that they can get free treatment. It's nothing to feel shame about and the surgery is very simple. You will tell them?
CHILDREN
Yes.
WOMAN
There is a little girl.
MAN
Close by, there is a girl with a cleft lip.
WOMAN
Anjulata's little sister, right? What is her name?
GIRL
Pinka.
DOCTOR
Pinki? Okay, thank you.
DOCTOR
Which one is Mr. Rajendra's house?
YOUTH
Rajendra who?
DOCTOR
Whose daughter has a cleft lip.
BOY
Over there.
DOCTOR
Are you Rajendra?
RAJENDRA [Father]
Yes.
DOCTOR
Is this your child?
RAJENDRA
She got it because of the eclipse.
WOMAN
While she was in the womb, there was an eclipse.
RAJENDRA
It was God's will.
DOCTOR
It will all be fixed. Why don't we sit down? See, I am affiliated with GS Memorial Plastic Surgery Hospital. On March 18th, we are setting up a registration day for kids who have a cleft lip or palate. We would like you to come on the 18th. We'll get her registered, do a diagnosis, and set a date for the operation. So, will you come?
RAJENDRA
What can I say? I barely have enough to feed them. If I had money, it would already be done.
WOMAN
That's it. They said when her teeth come in, we should get the surgery done.
DOCTOR
But you can't?
WOMAN
Of course not.
DOCTOR
It's completely free. We operate all year long on as many kids as we can find. Okay? Does that sound good? You will go? So, how will you get there?
RAJENDRA
We will walk to Araura.
MAN
It takes three hours to walk to Araura. The rest, we'll have to find transport. We will make it one way or another. After the operation, when can we come home?
DOCTOR
You need to stay in the hospital for seven days.
MAN
Seven days?
DOCTOR
What do you think about her future now?
WOMAN
It will lift a huge burden from my head.
DOCTOR
While you're there, you'll need to make arrangements for food.
WOMAN
Yes, we will.
MAN
Do we have to pay them any money?
DOCTOR
No! You don't pay anything to the hospital. You just need to bring food. Hello. Yes, speaking. Yes, go ahead. Bring him in on the 18th. Please call me back in an hour or so. People donate money, that money comes to our hospital, and then we provide treatment to you.
RAJENDRA
Since this is in Banaras, it should be quite clean.
DOCTOR
Yes, it is a private hospital.
RAJENDRA
Had I known, I would have brought her to you soon as she came into this world. But, I did not know. If it's done, she will be able to live a decent life and get married one day.
MAN
There is a boy like that.
DOCTOR
Where is he?
MAN
Over there.
DOCTOR
How old is he?
MAN
About nine.
MOTHER
Doctors in Banaras saw him once. We didn't get it fixed because he said it was dangerous.
DOCTOR
Who said?
MOTHER
His father. We were afraid of the surgery, so we ran from there.
DOCTOR
There is no big danger. What danger there is in any little operation, this has that same danger.
MOTHER
I am afraid for him. He is my son.
DOCTOR
We do about twelve of these surgeries each day. There is nothing to worry about. When you go, you'll see. He's not the only one like this. Everyone is coming from far off on the 18th. We would like you to come sign-up too.
WOMAN
There is nothing to be afraid of.
DOCTOR
We do these operations daily. Every day of the year.
MOTHER
My hands are tied. My husband is not here.
GRANDFATHER
I am Ghutaru's grandfather. If she won't go with us, what can we do?
MOTHER
I have a five-day-old baby. You tell me, how can I go?
DOCTOR
Can we do this, take your baby with you, we'll make arrangements. If your baby stays with you, can you go?
WOMAN
Don't be crazy. Get it fixed. His whole life will be better.
MAN
They are not charging anything. You just need money for travel. It will help him get married too.
MAN 2
You'll go?
GHUTARU
Yes.
MAN 2
Your grandpa will take you. Look, once it's fixed, look how it will be. This is your face, look how it's changed.

Segment 2

RAJENDRA
So, we'll go tomorrow?
PINKI
Yes.
RAJENDRA
You won't cry there, right?
PINKI
Are they going to put stitches?
RAJENDRA
Without money, how will I take you on the train?
PINKI
I'll go on foot.
RAJENDRA
If you walk you'll get tired. It's a long way. If your feet start hurting, I'll carry you in my arms.
PINKI
I want to go with you.
RAJENDRA
Yes. You'll go with me.
PINKI
Will mummy go too?
RAJENDRA
No, she can't go.
MAN
So will you go?
MOTHER
Yes, I am going to take the baby and go.
MAN
With whom?
MOTHER
Ghutaru, his grandfather. I need 500 rupees. When I come back, I'll return it.
MAN
Who will give you 500?
MOTHER
Mina's father.
MAN
Okay, I'll go meet him.
MOTHER
Tell him I'm giving the guarantee.
DOCTOR
Remember this number, 165. That's for food. Two hundred and twenty two, remember 222.
MAN 1
These numbers are the order in which the doctor will see you. What's her name?
MAN 2
What town or village?
MAN 3
Mirzapur.
MAN 1
Do you have a phone number? Maybe a neighbor?
MAN 2
No, this is an amount of money.
MAN 3
Is that it?
MAN 2
Remember your number. I am writing it down here. Your number is 416. Make sure you listen for your number, okay?
MAN 1
How did you find out about this?
MAN 2
From the newspaper. I had someone read it to me.
MOTHER
It happened inside me, during an eclipse.
MAN 1
When I found out that it was a boy, I was happy. But when I saw that he had a cleft, I felt sad.
WOMAN
They just started crying when they saw her.
MAN 3
I wished God had not given birth to him; that would have been better.
MAN 1
The main issue is marriage?
WOMAN 2
Where are we going to find a decent boy?
WOMAN 3
I feel better now. I thought I was the only one who had a child like this.
MAN 4
It feels strange; there are so many people like this.
DOCTOR
What happened to her hands?
FATHER
She works around the house, cooks and all. Her mother is dead. I am her father.
DOCTOR
Have you married again?
FATHER
No. I have four girls and two boys. If I marry, who will look after them?
MOTHER
What can I say? When this child was born, my husband told me to leave.
DOCTOR
Has anyone come with you? Is there someone here to help out?
DOCTOR
The best age for surgery is three months. As they grow older it does not go as well. Three hundred patients have already come; we can't possibly operate on everyone right away. We'll give you as early a date as possible.
DOCTOR
You have been given six months time, so that your child can gain weight. And a medication has also been written here, okay? You can get it from the hospital when you go outside.
MAN
Seeing this makes me feel bad, but what you all are doing makes me feel very proud.

Segment 3

DOCTOR
Attention please! 416 Pinki, father Rajendra, please come to the counter.
MAN
Go, go, go. Get your ticket, quickly.
DOCTOR
How old is he?
MAN
Eleven years.
DOCTOR
Does he go to school?
MAN
No, he used to go to school, but not any more.
DOCTOR
Why doesn't he go?
MAN
He can't speak properly so he doesn't go.
DOCTOR
What is your name?
MAN
Say your name.
GHUTARU
Ghurtaru.
DOCTOR
Can you hear properly? Can you count up to ten? You don't know? Pankaj! An earlier date will be better. Pankaj, try to admit him now. So once it's fixed, will you go to school? Okay, he'll go. Admit him.
MAN
She's five years old?
RAJENDRA
Yes.
MAN
Was she the full nine months?
RAJENDRA
Yes.
MAN
Did her mother have any problems while carrying her?
RAJENDRA
No.
MAN
Does anyone else in the family have this?
RAJENDRA
No.
DOCTOR
How are you feeling? Any problems? You don't go to school?
MOTHER
When he opens his mouth, he scares the kids.
DOCTOR
You open your mouth and people get scared? Why do you run away? You should stay there and scare people. Do you go to school? Or are you off playing marbles? What do you play? What is he saying?
MOTHER
To play the match.
DOCTOR
You go to play the match? You know how to play cricket? Okay. Which player do you like? Sachin Tendulkar? And who else do you like?
GHUTARU
That's it.
DOCTOR
Nobody else? Once your lip is fixed, you need to either study or learn a trade at your aunt's. You won't play all day, right? Okay, his operation will be in a little while. Don't worry at all. Okay Ghutaru? Shall I go? Shake my hand?
WOMAN
First of all, he will get lip surgery. Then in a few days, his nose will be operated upon. Have you eaten anything yet this morning? Not even water? Can you show me your stomach? Okay, it's completely flat. Are you all worried about his surgery today?
MAN
We have faith.
WOMAN
No fears? None?
MAN
No fear. We're happy he's going to have it.
WOMAN
Has it been difficult having a cleft lip? Do you ever look in the mirror? Once your lip is fixed, you'll look in the mirror and you will feel so good. Won't you? Why are you crying? Come on. Don't cry. Let's laugh.
MOTHER
When she was born, I lost consciousness. I woke up and my sister said, "What did you do that this happened? Your other child is so beautiful, what have you done?" So I said, it looks like a monster's been born.
DOCTOR 1
A monster's been born? Why did you think that?
MOTHER
I used to get scared when I looked at her.
DOCTOR 1
And what about your family? What was their reaction when the saw the baby?
MOTHER
His family has never seen her.
DOCTOR 1
They haven't?
MOTHER
When she was born, they were unhappy. They said, your child's come out like this, you must leave.
DOCTOR 2
So they hold you responsible as well?
MOTHER
Yes.
DOCTOR 1
Do you believe that too, that it was the mother's fault?
FATHER
No.
DOCTOR 1
The operation will take about an hour. Does she know what's going to happen?
RAJENDRA
My daughter? At home, she said, "Let's go get my lip fixed."
DOCTOR 1
Now that you're here, are you afraid? You feel fine? Not afraid? She's laughing. Who's this?
PINKI
My daddy.
DOCTOR 1
What is his name?
PINKI
It's Rajendra.
DOCTOR 1
And who's this?
PINKI
Uncle.
DOCTOR 1
And what's your name? Pinka or Pinki?
PINKI
Pinki.
DOCTOR 1
And what about you?
RAJENDRA
I feel good. I'm happy, thank God, my daughter's face will be fixed. She used to ask to go to school, she'd grab her book bag, but then the kids started calling her cut-lip.
DOCTOR 1
They call you cut-lip? What do the boys say? Okay. They call you cut-lip? So you won't go to school?
DOCTOR 2
Pinki? It's time for her operation. I have to take her downstairs now.
UNCLE
Right now?
DOCTOR
You're Pinki's father? Her operation went well. She's absolutely fine. There is nothing to worry about. Her lip was fixed very well. No more worrying, okay? Have you eaten anything?
RAJENDRA
I will eat after I've seen my child.
DOCTOR
Okay, you'll eat after you see her. But she's absolutely fine. You can see her soon.
DOCTOR
Hello, hello? Is this Mr. Ramkesh? What's your name?
LALCHAND
Lalchand.
DOCTOR
Talk to Mr. Lalchand.
LALCHAND
Yes, the operation is over. Call Pinki's mother, will you? No, we did not have any kind of problem. The surgery is done. Everything went well. Yes, we'll call in the morning. Yes, we are all fine.
MOTHER
You'll be all better in a few days.

Segment 4

DOCTOR
Which newspapers are you gentlemen with?
JOURNALIST 1
Pioneer.
DOCTOR
And you?
JOURNALIST 2
Times of India.
DOCTOR
Look at this one. This looks very complicated. In his case, this middle portion was protruding two inches. His lips have been joined from both sides; next we'll push this part down.
JOURNALIST 1
So how normal will he end up looking?
DOCTOR
Very. Almost perfect.
DOCTOR
This is Ghutaru. Can you talk with us? He's had his palate operated, inside. And how are you?
MOTHER
Good.
DOCTOR
Was he going to school?
MOTHER
No.
DOCTOR
Will he go now?
MOTHER
Yes, he'll go. He'll talk just fine now.
JOURNALIST 2
How many patients have you operated?
DOCTOR
Since 2004, we have operated on 6,000 patients. And now, we operate on 3,000 patients a year.
JOURNALIST 2
What is the success rate?
DOCTOR
Success rate is almost 100 percent. Success in terms of giving a good repair is 100 percent. The problem is a backlog. In India, there are a million children with these defects. And each year in India, 35,000 children are born with clefts. Most never get any decent treatment.
DOCTOR
He's had his palate fixed. Is he feeling okay? Where are you from?
MOTHER
Vashali district, Bihar.
JOURNALIST 1
Is this defect as widespread in more advanced countries?
DOCTOR
They have it there too, but in our region this problem is a lot more widespread. We see it more in poor families. The cause could be a nutritional deficit. What it is exactly, we do not know. What we do know is that it's a problem that occurs between the fourth and twelfth week of development. And it could even be genetic.
DOCTOR
All the stitches have come off today?
RAJENDRA
Yes.
DOCTOR
And you're being discharged today?
RAJENDRA
Yes. It's looking really good. It looks just fine. First class.
DOCTOR
Will the other kids make fun of her now?
RAJENDRA
No.
DOCTOR
Are you excited to show people at home?
RAJENDRA
They're not going to believe it.
DOCTOR
You'll go to school now? Make sure you register her at the school.
RAJENDRA
Yes I will.
DOCTOR
Do you want to go home? You'd like to go home, right? Now when you go home, be careful that she doesn't hurt her lip in any way. Keep her safe and indoor for about ten days.
UNCLE
Ten days or twenty?
DOCTOR
Just ten, make sure she doesn't get hurt.
ADMINISTRATOR
It's very important to clean the area regularly. You may call us at anytime, 24 hours a day, if you have questions. Everyone understands what I've said so far? So, since this hospital has helped your children, you have a responsibility to help other such patients. If there is someone among your relatives or friends, send them here immediately. Okay? Give 200 rupees and help them get here. You all come from every corner of this huge country. And if each of you can send five other patients, just imagine how many people can be cured. Without patients, a hospital is useless. You all are our heroes. Don't laugh. That's the truth. Does everyone understand? So will you send us patients?
MAN
Pinki, smile Pinki.
RAJENDRA
She's happy to go home.
MAN
You're going home, right? Then laugh a little.
RAJENDRA
We're going home, right Pinka?
TITLE
Five months later
TITLE
To help a desperate child who is waiting for cleft surgery, please visit www.SmileTrain.org. There are millions of children who need our help. And we need yours. Smile Train: Changing the world one smile at a time.
DOCTOR
We're having a registration day in September.
WOMAN
In Banaras?
DOCTOR
In Banaras. [End credits]