How does a young girl from India spark so much interest? And why are people talking about her and sharing her story?
This 9-year-old skateboarder from the village of Tamil Nadu has been breaking down stereotypes. Suganthi, mom and biggest supporter, has empowered her daughter, who has become a living embodiment of perseverance, to follow dreams.
Being raised in a rural village, there are plenty of societal conventions that are being challenged by Kamali. Suganthi’s family and community members have even expressed their concerns and disapproval when some of these social norms are being challenged. However, despite this, Suganthi continues to give full support to her daughter, Kamali.
Having seen her fair share of hardships and oppression, Suganthi strives to save her children from a similar fate. The new 24-minute documentary titled, “Kamali” follows the family’s life and allows the viewer to catch a glimpse of the struggles this family is experiencing as they strive to help Kamali become a skateboarding champion. The film is directed by New Zealand director Sasha Rainbow, and it addresses the trials that Suganthi and her family have faced, while also inspiring the audience with Kamali’s example of perseverance. All of this takes place within the confines of a conservitive village with very strict traditions.
Drifting from any one of the set standards often brings judgment and stares, and drift she does! Her passion, initially captured in a photograph by Jamie Thomas, has sparked interest from even the most accomplished people. Kamali has even caught the eye of the renowned professional skateboarder, Tony Hawk!
Suganthi, after separating from her husband was faced with the challenge of raising and providing for her children. One fear that Suganthi has expressed was seeing her children end up like her.“If my marriage had gone well, I would have kept Kamali locked away at home like I was. And, married off to a man at 17. My girl mustn’t grow up like that,” Suganthi says in the film.
To break the cycle, she decided to encourage her children to stand tall and have the courage to take a different path. "When Suganthi (Kamali's mother) sees her children, she reflects on her childhood and how she could not do the things she wished to do because of the society. Today, she wants Kamali to taste the freedom she did not have," Aine Edwards, Kamali's mentor told The News Minute.
The determination of Kamali’s mother has sparked a fiery passion within this young skater’s heart. Her skateboard has become a symbol of someone going against the grain, and Kamali has become somewhat of an example of one who is passionate, brave, and full of potential.