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Khushboo Sharma

IWB Blogger

Young Skateboarder Kamali Murthy, Muse For The Film ‘Kamali’, Boards The Train To Fame

  • IWB Post
  •  February 21, 2018

It was one fateful day for little Kamali Moorthy when she was spotted by photographer, skater, and surfboarder Jamie Thomas. He clicked the contrasting image of a barefoot Kamali, with her hair going awry, clad in a white cotton frock, skating with the expressions of a seasoned skateboarder, everything about which spelled rebellion.

Skating icon and superstar Tony Hawk then shared Kamali’s picture with the caption                “new favourite skate shot” on Instagram and soon the little skateboarder from Mahabalipuram went viral. In almost no time the six-year-old emerged out as a symbol of empowerment for Indian women.

Soon after in December 2016 a filming crew found their way to Bangalore to trace and film “burgeoning female skate movement for a music video for Wild Beasts’ single, Alpha Female.” The video gained immense popularity as everyone got intrigued and bombarded the crew with questions about the “skating sari girls.” The response inspired the crew to narrate the story of these girls and how skateboarding altered their lives and thus Kamali became the eponymous muse for the film Kamali.

You’d be surprised to know that besides the traditional fishing, Mahabalipuram boasts of a strong surfing culture. While the residents of the Fisherman’s Colony where Kamli resides are mostly into fishing, some of them have embraced the sea to surf as well. Kamali’s is an eccentric story as she was taught surfing by Áine Edwards who introduced her to Jamie, her skateboard was later sponsored by someone who spotted her surfing and later Jamie gifted her his own skateboard which she cherishes more than her own life.

Suganthi, Kamali’s mother, believes that letting Kamali follow her dreams will empower her to break free from the vicious cycle of poetry that they entrapped into. She has made up her mind to support her and will do it even if her family objects to it. “Kamali is becoming a symbol of hope for the future of women in India,” as the movie website says and her mother is determined to give her all the access to education and independence that she couldn’t have any access to.

The movie is aiming to be a story of empowerment and its proceeds will go to Kamali’s education and inspire more girls from the area to take up skateboarding. “In India, a female skateboarder is a symbol;  a symbol of going against the grain, standing boldly in front of society and taking ownership of one’s life.” The image of Kamali in her white frock is all of that and more. The shooting of the movie is over and we can hardly wait for it to hit the screens.

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