Two documentaries set in India eye Oscar glory

Mon Feb 2, 2009 6:03am EST
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By Tony Tharakan

NEW DELHI (Reuters Life!) - Forget "Slumdog Millionaire." Two documentary films shot in India are also eyeing Oscar glory this month.

"The Final Inch," a short film on the battle against polio, and "Smile Pinki," the story of a child with a lip deformity, are two of four films nominated for best short documentary at the Academy Awards.

"Particularly in India, public health workers are incredibly committed to polio eradication," Irene Taylor Brodsky, the American director of "The Final Inch" told Reuters by telephone.

"Ultimately, my film really glorifies and appreciates how hard the Indian people are working to make a polio-free India a reality."

Brodsky's 38-minute documentary, filmed in Mumbai's slums and other Indian cities, follows health workers going door-to-door to persuade families to get their children vaccinated.

Parents can be suspicious of government-administered vaccinations. In December, false rumors of children falling sick after taking polio drops led thousands of parents to protest in the southern city of Bangalore.

Polio, which is incurable, can lead to paralysis and even death. An international immunization effort has cut polio cases by 99 percent in 10 years. But the virus remains endemic in Afghanistan, India, Nigeria and Pakistan.

Megan Mylan's film "Smile Pinki" is the story of six-year-old Pinki who becomes a social outcast because of a cleft lip.   Continued...