Pamela Rooks

Pamela Rooks started her career as a producer of current affairs programmes on television and went to make several critically acclaimed documentaries on political and social issues like AIDS and terrorism. Her first film Miss Beatty's Children won several awards. Her second film Train to Pakistan was universally acclaimed. Dance Like a Man is her third film.


Miss Beatty's Children - 1993 - English

The story happens in 1936, in South India. Jane Beatty, an idealistic English school teacher, arrives at a mission in Trippuvur, to work with Mabel Forster, a strong-willed missionary devoted to saving young girls from being sold into temple prostitution. Often confronted by religious superstition and the animosity of the local people, Mabel's main rival, however, is Kamla Devi, a senior temple woman. Inspired by the spirit of humanism prevalent at the mission, Jane soon proves herself to be a woman of grit, determined to fight for these young lives against all odds. Matters come a head, when in Mabel's absence, Jane is forced by circumstances to rush to the rescue of an Anglo Indian girl and flee to Ooty with the child. Accused of kidnapping but believing that children need a real home with a mother, Jane adopts her young charge, Amber, and, in time to come, other abandoned and orphaned children. Dismissed at first, by the English community as an eccentric missionary memsaab, she soon antagonises them by her increasingly Indian ways and non-conformist attitude, Jane, however, finds a kindred spirit in Alan Chandler, an American doctor to whom she is irresistibly drawn. Yet love, it seems, must take second place, as Jane battles on to fight against the prejudice, injustice and indifference she sees about her.

Direction & Screenplay: Pamela Rooks
Cast: Jenny Seagrove, Faith Brooks, D W Moffet, Barry John, Protima Bedi
Cinematography: Venu
Editing: Renu Saluja
Music: Zakir Hussain

Train to Pakistan - 1997 - English

Based on a novel by Khushwant Singh, the film is set in the Punjab in 1947, during the upheavals of Partition.

Mano Majra is a sleepy town on the Punjab border between India and Pakistan, where Sikhs and Muslims have lived peacefully for years. As the freedom struggle reaches its climax the frontier becomes a scene of rioting and bloodshed. But the village carries on its tryst with peace and bonhomie until a train rattles in at an unusual time with an unusual cargo. This train from Pakistan is bursting forth with corpses of Hindus and Sikhs. A few days later, the gory incident is repeated and the village is unwittingly thrown into the cauldron of violence and hate. The hitherto sylvan landscape becomes a battlefield of conflicting loyalties and neither the Magistrate nor the police can stem the rising tide of violence and revenge. In the face of official helplessness hope lies only with a few individuals who might still be swayed by humanitarian instincts. Juggut Singh, the village gangster, is one such hero.

Direction & Screenplay: Pamela Rooks
Cast: Mohan Agashey, Nirmal Pandey, Rajit Kapoor, Smriti Mishra
Cinematography: Sunny Joseph

Dance Like a Man - 2003 - English

Bharatanatyam dancers Ratna and Jairaj have a daughter Lata, a young aspiring danseuse. Lata's fiancÚ Vishwas is from a non-dance milieu like Lata's paternal grandfather, who also disapproved of dancing. The film takes off from Lata's dance debut, which coincides with Vishwas' introduction to the family. Through flashbacks, Ratna and jairaj's early days are captured, when their passion for dance also created several problems. Jairaj was forced to give up dancing, to avoid the stigma attached to a male dancer in a conservative society. As a result he grew bitter and took to drink.

Times have changed since, but problems still crop up in Lata's and Vishwas' lives. Like history repeating itself.

Direction & Screenplay: Pamela Rooks
Cast: Shobhana, Arif Zakaria, Anoushka Shankar
Cinematography: Sunny Joseph
Editing: Bina
Music: Ganesh, Kumresh

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