Lalita’s Kidnap


This video shows Panky’s talent as a film maker

KIDNAP from Pankaja Brooke on Vimeo.

When I was putting this video up on Osho News I did not want to focus so much on Lalita’s story, or even on Ramana’s Garden as on Pankaja’s splendid work. Despite the fact that I already knew Lalita’s story from the many emails that had been sent around at the time of her disappearance and my limited attention span for online videos, I watched it to the very end – without effort. I was intrigued by the way Pankaja introduced us to Rishikesh: no shots à la tourist board, but the way we would actually see the populated streets while driving through town in a rickshaw ourselves. It was also easy to listen to the dramatic story of Lalita’s rescue while watching visuals of Lalita and the other children during their daily activities. I felt the aliveness of the place, the playfulness, the beauty and aspirations of the teenagers – and could get a sense of Dwabha’s courage and concern in a very simple way.

If you want to know more about the story here is Pankaja’s blurb which goes with the video:

Deva Dwabha (aka Prabhavati) is an American woman in her 50′s who used to be an actress in Hollywood. Nearly 20 years ago she started Ramana’s Garden, a home for destitute children in Rishikesh, North India.

Last year one of her 67 children, a 15 year old girl named Lalita, was kidnapped and sold to a brothel in Nepal – a fate which happens to thousands of young girls every year. Prabhavati, who was on a fund raising tour in America at the time, flew back immediately, and with huge perseverance and guts and an absolute refusal to entertain the possibility of failure, managed to rescue Lalita.

I have known Prabhavati for 30 years, and Lalita since she arrived at Ramana’s at the age of 9 – and felt that this is a story that has to be told, so I bought a new camera and flew up to visit my friends in Rishikesh.

The previous year I had made another film about this place, Children of Ramana’s Garden and Lalita features in this film also.

Lalita is a typical fifteen year old girl who loves to dance, and wants to be a movie star in Bollywood. Now she is back home, in a place where teenage girls can have aspirations to be whatever they want.

As well as dancing she has to study and pass exams like the other children, some of whom want to be doctors, engineers, teachers, pilots, cooks – just like any bunch of teenagers. All of these children though, come from backgrounds of horrific abuse – so they also have to deal with traumas of rape, murder, neglect and extreme poverty. But in the loving and supportive environment which Prabhavati has created they can heal, blossom and have a real chance to fulfil their potential.

Dwabha is a totally amazing woman, who’s life is full of extraordinary stories of compassion and courage like this. She has recently been honoured as Humanitarian of 2011 by 3HO Kundalini Yoga.

Pankaja BrookePankaja (Panky) spent a year studying at the very first London Film School and wrote 4 published novels before taking sannyas in the early seventies. She has been part of Osho’s communes, mainly in Pune, until Osho left his body. After spending several years travelling round various parts of the world she settled back in London, where now that it is possible to shoot and edit an entire film oneself she has resumed that longed for career. Her films have been shown at film festivals round the world, a couple receiving a Special Mention.

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