They inspire her. The courage and heartbreak of the women and young girls portrayed in Kim Longinotto's Pink Saris is one that the director will take with her for the rest of her life.
"Sampat Pal [who created The Gulabi Gang, otherwise known as the Women in Pink Saris] is a hard character but at the same time, she's such an inspiration for what she tries to do for everyone who comes to her for help," Longinotto said. "There is a real hunger in women in India for change. The amazing thing about her is that she doesn't hesitate to say things that others are thinking," she added.
Pink Saris follows Pal, who brings her own brand of justice to combating violence against women in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
While Longinotto is passionate about joining those who are spreading her subject's message, she acknowledges that there were some challenges that they faced while filming the documentary feature.
"Everyone was so good to us...even though we were constantly filming, no one took much notice of the cameras...they were more interested in focusing on Sampat and what she had to say," Longinotto said. "But there were times when the women being filmed were uncomfortable with us and were reluctant. We followed Sampat for around four months and it's heartbreaking to see the situation these young girls and women are in," she added.
Longinotto and her crew experienced personal challenges during those long months, with some falling ill or getting injured.
"During filming, I contracted a fungus that covered parts of my face and was also bitten by bed bugs. Another thing we experienced while filming was that there were times when we had to walk four to five kilometres in the sun to follow Sampat as she went to the villages to speak to people," Longinotto said.
Despite all the hardships everyone endured during the filming process, Longinotto admitted that she wouldn't trade any experience, especially as she wants her film to become a catalyst for change.
"I like making films that chronicles the changes that are happening as we film and that's what's so great about Pink Saris. We were able to not only observe Sampat but were also there when she was at a crossroads of her work and life," she said.
A glimpse into Sampat's life
Pink Saris tells the tale of a courageous woman, Sampat Pal, who managed to rise above her circumstances and now energetically battles for women's rights.With the ability to move mixed gender audiences of all ages and backgrounds, Kim Longinotto's startlingly honest work helps to add one more light to Sampat's tireless efforts, which are not as simple or clear-cut as they first appear.The film not only highlights Sampat's incredible courage and energy, but also provides a glimpse into the woman behind the activist.