Two private screenings of "Lilkee" last week. One to a small group of Gujarati women writers, Abhivyakti with a full farsan turnout, including lovely red guava juice from Bhavnagar. The second to a film club of 8 and 9 year olds at Shishuvan School in Matunga, organized by the Pomegranate Workshop.
I cannot yell if my life depends on it, so it was Dhanno who took over the noisy, excited children and their scores of questions.
"Did Lilkee really live in the village? Was that her real mother, her real sister? Where are they now? Where are her friends?"
Seeing Dhanno's cell phone peeping out of her pocket, one child asked, "Where was her cell phone in the film?"
One little girl wanted to know how we had got a shot of the beach from so high up. A little boy answered, "Oh, they must have done it from a helicopter." I said, "No, there was a hill, and a fort, and we took a shot from the top." To which he replied, "Oh, you could have done it from a helicopter".
An important scene in the film is when Bittu, the baby swallows a bead, and the children take him to the doctor, and Tutu comes home and does not find the kids at home. After endless queries about Bittu's welfare, and whether he had really swallowed the bead, and whether he was really crying, a couple of the kids wanted to know why in the film, we don't actually see the children going to the doctor. One of them piped up, "Because they did not find an actor to play the doctor." Another said, "They did not want to show the operation." A third said, "Because the children did not go to the doctor at all."
Each one of them had their own favorite moment in the film, for someone it was when Lilkee went to school, for someone else when the girls went to the beach, for a boy when they all played football, and for another boy when Dadaji told Anushka that you should always do what you think is right, even if no one else agrees with you.
Dhanno had to sign 50 autographs and give her cell number to all of them. She was feeling very pleased with herself, certainly. And she had her two best friends along to show off to.