5-7 October 2019

22nd Asian Project Market

2004 Project

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PROJECT Kamli (My Daughter) (35mm / Color / 90min / India) NO 16
K.N.T. SASTRY is a renowned Indian film critic, who has received a number of national awards for his
criticism, including Best Critic National Award in 1989. Associated with a number of magazines and
dailies in India, he strayed into documentary filmmaking and has made 7 documentaries. His
documentary "Surabhi" received National Award as Best Anthropological Documentary. Later his first
feature film, "Tiladaanam (The Rite…Passion)", received New Currents Award at the 7th Pusan
International Film Festival and has been invited to a number of festivals including Vancouver,
Montreal, Buenos Aires, Melbourne and Vladivostok. He has served as a Fipresci jury member in the
international film festivals of Sochi (Russia), and Pusan (South Korea), and was an International Jury
Member at the Vladivostock Film Festival 2003. He has also served as a Jury member of International
Film Festival of India a number of times.
The film is based on real life happenings, in South India, where tribal women have been selling Girl
Children, due to extreme poverty conditions, superstitions and economic considerations of having a
girl child, as well as the conditions they encounter when, in their migration circles, they descend
on cities to temporarily settle down as wayside laborers. "Sorry, we do not want girl children, we are

Kamli and Redya are wayside laborers in the city of Hyderabad, who have migrated from their tribe
Tanda in search of making a living. Kamli was coaxed by her neighbor Ramli in the village to give
away the girl child and having done so, much against her will, she is once again pregnant in the city.
Redya feels that it would be wiser to give away the child if it is a girl child when she delivers it so
that he can get rid of the debts he has. However, Kamli strongly protests, and tries to retain the baby.
She delivers a male baby in the local government-run hospital, but on the very next day of giving birth
to the male child, she finds that her male child has been swapped, and a female baby is kept in its
place. She struggles, in the hospital ward, with the doctors, demanding her baby back. Nurses in the
hospital call her mad, and throw her out. Even her husband suggests that they should retain the baby
and sell her off to back in their Tanda. Kamli loses her control, spits at her husband and even beats
him. Redya leaves the hospital never to return.
When she squats in front of the hospital in protest, people gather, and the story gets reported in the
Press and TV Media, which forces the hospital authorities to order a DNA test on the child and the
mother. As a result, it is proved that the current male baby is not hers. Police traces the male child
finally and brings him back to her. Meanwhile, Kamli has developed a kind of sympathy towards the
orphan girl child, and one night even takes it to her breast and feeds her milk as the child was crying
helplessly. When her male child is brought back, she enquires about the parents of the female child,
but the authorities just ask her to get out. She takes a momentous decision, and takes the girl baby
with her, also ? promising that she will bring her up despite what their community says.
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